Why we are putting NAHCON’s N1.5bn budget “under serious scrutiny”, says lawmakers

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The National Assembly says it has put the N1.5 billion 2018 budget for the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) under serious scrutiny. The joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives which is processing the commission’s budget said although the agency did well in the implementation of the 2017 budget, there were issues in the 2018 fiscal plan that required a thorough scrutiny before approval is given.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu, noted that the decision to scrutinise the commission’s budget was in line with the directive from the National Assembly’s leadership to block all economic leakages.

NAHCOM had presented to the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs its 2018 appropriation proposal of N1,559,818,216. The Executive Chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Abdullahi Mukhtar, put the total recurrent expenditure comprising personnel cost and overhead cost at N962, 073,096. The personnel cost is N344, 728,181 while the overhead is N617, 344,915.

Mukhtar noted that for 2017, the appropriation was N1, 571,990,682.20 with 58 percent performance. He said the personnel cost for 2017 was N344, 728,181 while the overhead was N629, 517,381.20. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, in a bid to ensure the safety of the nation’s waterways, has passed a bill aimed at enhancing the funding of the Nigerian Navy (NN).

The legislation is specifically an amendment to the Act establishing a maritime operations coordinating board to allow the navy access one per cent of the maritime fund, to better address its challenges.

The bill yet to be assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari stipulates that the board is to be reconstituted to include the NN as a member. The Chairman of the House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Mohammed Umar Bago, explained that the navy would be able to enhance its capacity to better police the maritime environment and protect the nation’s territorial integrity with the passage of the legislation.

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