Senate summons Zainab Ahmed over mystery N206bn in Humanitarian Ministry’s budget

The Senate committee on special duties has summoned Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, to explain the N206billion inserted into the 2023 budget of the humanitarian affairs ministry.

The invitation was sequel to the explanation of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, that she could not explain the N206 billion in her ministry’s 2023 budget appropriation.

Farouq was before the Senate on Monday to defend the ministry’s 2023 budget, and was asked about the nature of the projects to be implemented with N206billion the minister planned to borrow.

A member of the committee, Senator Ishaku Abbo had asked, “In 2023, you intend to borrow N206 billion for a project. What are the projects to be implemented and is it captured in the medium term expenditure framework?

“If it is, what are the specific projects location and activities attached to this?”

However, responding to the questions, Farouq said, “Yes, we made mention of the projects for 2022 which were not released and part of it was part for the North-East Development Commission (NEDC).

“The money was not released and now we have seen it recurring by almost 10 fold.

“We are also going to clarify from the ministry of finance to know the reason for this increase in spite of the fact that the previous year, the money was not even released for the project.

“So we will get the details then send it to you.

“On upscaling of the national social safety-net project (NSSNP); these projects under the national social safety-net, the condition cash transfer, the updating of the national social register and the rapid response register (RRR) are to cushion the effect of inflation.

“This is all I can say for this. I cannot really give full details of how this amount is going to be utilised because it is something that was negotiated between the ministry of finance and World Bank,” the News Agency of Nigeria quoted the Minister to have said.

Following the inability of the minister to explain the funds inserted, the chairman of the committee Yusuf Yusuf, approved a motion to summon the finance minister to appear before the committee to give explanation on the N206 billion.

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