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Ministry of defence – Saatah Nubari’s Budget Series

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Ministry of defence – Saatah Nubari’s Budget Series

by Saatah Nubari

This is the second piece in my 2017 budget analysis series. The first analysis focused on the budget of the State House (which was referred to as the Presidency in previous budgets).

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

Today, we will take a look at the budget for the Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Defence has a total budget of N465.488bn. Of this amount, N140bn will be the total capital budget while N325.488bn will be the total recurrent budget. The total overhead cost stands at N39.999bn and the total personnel cost is N285.489bn.

The Ministry of Defence has 15 agencies under it and they are as follows; Federal Ministry of Defence Headquarters, Defence Headquarters, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Airforce, Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), National Defence College, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Nigeria Armed Forces Resettlement Centre-Lagos, Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), Defence Intelligence School, Defence Intelligence Agency, Defence Missions, Defence Space Agency, and the Military Pension Board.

The “Rehabilitation of National War Museum Umuahia” will cost the Ministry of Defence N55.208m. This does not look like it has a problem, but it does.  This so-called rehabilitation of the National War Museum in Umuahia has been showing up in budgets for a while now and the tags change from “New“ to “Ongoing” once in a while, which is very odd. Firstly, in the 2014 budget, N30.184m was set aside for this item and it was tagged as a “New” project. In 2015, the previous government budgeted for it again, and this time it was given a tag of “Ongoing” with a sum of N27.054m. In the 2016 budget, which happens to be the first budget of this administration, N28.301m was budgeted for it and this time around it was given the “New” project tag. This year, the “Rehabilitation” must continue by fire by force, so N55.208m.

The Ministry of Defence Headquarters budgeted N2.351bn for “PHCN Outstanding Debt.” The budget for this same debt in 2016 was the same amount bringing the total to about five billion. This particular item needs a lot of explanations. How did the Ministry of Defence Headquarters rack up a power “debt” of close to five billion Naira? Let us say they were getting this “light” of a thing, then what has been happening to their budget for “Electricity Charge” running into millions each year? Or let us assume they under budgeted, then why keep under budgeting for it each year? There are many questions that need answers concerning this particular item and I expect someone from the Ministry to step up and shed more “light” on this since they seem to be having too much of it lately.

Last year the government budgeted N437.830m for the “Establishment Of A Military Industrial Complex Through Public Private Partnership: Committee MEETINGS.” I capitalised “MEETINGS” for a reason. In this year’s budget, after all the “meetings” done in 2016, they have finally agreed on N450m for the “Establishment of a Military Industrial Complex.” We thank God for meetings.

In 2015 there was a budget for the “Implementation of the FOI Act” and it cost us N17.926m. In the 2017 budget, there is a new provision for the “Implementation of the FOI Act” and N20.771m is the amount budgeted for it. If we can get a breakdown of how this “Implementation” of the Freedom of Information Act actually works, we will be very grateful.

“Completion of PTI School and Games Village, Esa Oke” has a 2017 budget of N328.046m. I tried to go through the budget for previous years and I noticed something shocking. In the 2012 budget, N254m was budgeted for this same item. In the 2014 budget it was put as a “New” project and another N271.201m was budgeted for it. In the 2015 budget it was said to be an “Ongoing” project and N287.132m was budgeted for it. Also, in the 2016 budget it all of a sudden became a “New” project with a budget of N208.435m. I could not get hold of budgets for the other years, but it looks like projects that have already been done years back are usually brought forward with huge sums appended to them. Imagine where all these monies will end up, in whose pocket it will end up.

Nothing scares me more in the budget of the Ministry of Defence Headquarters than the N1.205bn budget for “Governance and Institutional Reforms.” And lest I forget, there is another N141.456m for “Reform Communications.”

So that you don’t get it twisted, there is the Federal Ministry of Defence Headquarters and a Defence Headquarters and they have different budgets.

The Defence Headquarters has a N700m budget for the “Construction of Armed Forces Specialist Hospital.” In 2012, the budget for the same item was N294.06m. In 2014, there was also a budgetary provision and it was N307.676m. In 2015, what was budgeted for it was N307m while in 2016 it was N700m. Since I could not get hold of previous budgets, I cannot tell if they have been budgeting for the “Construction” of this wonderful “Armed Forces Specialist Hospital” since 1914, but it is very possible as we can be mad in this country.

The Nigerian Army plans to spend a whopping N500m for the “Purchase of Lifejackets for NA Troops in the Niger Delta.” If the life jackets are gotten for, let’s say N10,000 per piece, that translates to 500,000,000 for 50,000 pieces. I never knew after the launch of the “Operation Crocodile Smile,” that we will still need life jackets for our smiling crocodiles.

N1.257bn is what the Nigerian Defence Academy has budgeted for the “Construction of a Sports Complex,” while N500m will be used to provide a “Central Sewage System.” I can tell we are diversifying from oil, and shit is the new gold.

In 2016, the Nigerian Defence College budgeted N5bn for the “Construction of Office Buildings” and another N794.034m for the “Construction of Residential Buildings.” In our 2017 budget, there happens to be a vague “Construction/Provision of Infrastructure” that will cost N1.837bn. I did a Google search for the definition of “Infrastructure” just to be sure I was not misunderstanding. Infrastructure means “the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.” Going by this definition, items like “Recreational Facilities,” “Residential Buildings,” and “Office Buildings” should be covered, but they are not. You can still find a N5.259bn budget for the “Construction/Provision of Office Buildings,” bringing the amount the Nigerian Defence College will spend in two year just on office buildings to over ten billion Naira. There is also another N1.515bn for the “Construction of Residential Buildings.” I have purposely not included the budget for previous years to save time and space, since you can already draw conclusion from what you can see here.

The Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, will spend N611.5m for the “Purchase of College Vehicles and N1.288bn for the “Construction of State of the Art College Library and Hall of Fame.”

“Construction/Renovation of Trainees Accommodation at NAFRC through Direct Labour” appears twice in the Nigeria Armed Forces Resettlement Centre budget, with N200.656m earmarked for each. Same project was in the 2016 budget and N354.396m was the amount.

N2.164bn being the entire capital budget of the Defence Intelligence School, has been budgeted for the “Construction of College Infrastructure.” That is vague enough to get the deed done.

The Defence Intelligence Agency will spend N873.249m on the “Rehabilitation of Staff Quarters,” N1.2bn on the “Purchase of Accommodation,” and N2.885bn on “Establishment of Defence Section in the Embassy of Nigeria in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” That is almost three billion Naira for a “Defence Section” in our embassy in Saudi Arabia? I am not understanding. Here is the topping in this awful budget; N1.088bn is budgeted for something as vague and undescriptive as “Construction.” I guess we are all supposed to guess what they plan to “construct.”

In 2016 the Defence Missions budgeted a staggering N4.651bn for the “Purchase of Residential Buildings.” In 2017, since the number of homeless people is expected to increase, they had to double up and spend an extra N4.176bn for the same thing.

So, we have come to the end of the second part of the series. The third part will focus on the budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The omission—which I think is on purpose—of the status of projects, which in previous budgets was either “New” or “Ongoing” from the 2017 budget has made analysing it more complex. You end up with a document where you have no idea what is new or not and what exists or not.

  • FOllow this writer on Twitter @Saatah

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