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Why we inserted N1.7 trillion projects in MDAs budget — Finance Minister

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed that N1.7 trillion projects were inserted in the budget of 14 ministries, departments and agencies.

Ahmed stated this in reaction to allegations of budget padding against her ministry.

It would be recalled that some agencies during budget defence sessions in the Senate, claimed that projects worth billions were inserted in the budget without their consent.

While appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation on Tuesday, the Minister explained that it was not budget padding, rather those projects are to be financed by loans.

She explained that in the past, loans were not included in the budget, however, for transparency, the federal government now includes loans in the budget.

“These loans were previously not fully captured in the FGN budget; only the provisions for counterpart funds & debt service were included in the FGN budget.

“To improve transparency and the comprehensiveness of the FGN budget, consistent with global best practice, we decided to fully capture these project tied loans in the FGN budget,” she said.

She explained that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has N206 billion in their budget which is funded by the World Bank for National Safety Nets Project.

Ahmed added that N195 billion sources from different multilateral agencies is also domiciled in the budget of the Ministry of Power.

Some of the projects include; Zungeru HydroElectric Power Project funded by Export-Import Bank of China, Power Sector Recovery Operation (PSRO) funded by World Bank and others.

Following her explanation, the Committee resolved that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouk must appear before it for clarification.

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