Budget 2016: FG raises transportation ministry's allocation by 1,428%
The budget for the Federal Ministry of Transportation as contained in the 2016Appropriation Bill is over 1,000 per cent higher than what was approved for both the Transport and Aviation ministries in the 2015 Appropriation Act.
President Muhammadu Buhari, while announcing the portfolios of his ministers, had merged the ministries of Transport and Aviation, but appointed a substantive minister for the ministry and a minister of state for aviation.
Although the Federal Government had yet to spell out the actual amount meant for both sectors in the 2016 Appropriation Bill, an analysis of the bill showed that the N215.8bn budgeted for the Transportation ministry was 1,428.5 per cent higher than the combined budgets for the ministries of Transport and Aviation in the 2015 budget.
In fact, the Transportation ministry's budget for 2016 is N201.68bn higher than the combined budgets for the two former ministries this year.
In the 2015 Appropriation Act, the Transport and Aviation ministries got N11.98bn and N2.14bn, respectively.
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While the Transport ministry's recurrent and capital budgets for 2015 were N8.03bn and N3.95bn, the Aviation ministry's recurrent and capital budgets were put at N998m and N1.14bn, respectively.
But in next year's Appropriation Bill, the recurrent and capital expenditure estimates for the Transportation ministry were N13.8bn and N202bn respectively, a development which analysts described as a clear departure from the past.
Similarly, the ministries of Science and Technology and Solid Minerals Development have had their allocations increased compared to the situation in the past.
While the Science and Technology ministry and its parastatals had a capital allocation of N3.25bn in 2015, they will receive N25.85bn for capital projects and N27.89bn for recurrent expenditure in the next fiscal year. This shows an increase of 695.38 per cent in capital budget allocation.
Similarly, the Ministry of Solid Minerals and its parastatals, which received N250m for capital projects in 2015; will recieve N9.1bn for capital projects and N9.52bn for recurrent expenditure in 2016 if the Appropriation Bill is passed. This shows an increase of 3,540 per cent in the capital project allocation.
The Ministry of Finance, headed by Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, seems to have been whittled down in importance with the allocation of N819.2m for capital projects, while the Ministry of Budget and National Planning has risen in reckoning with the allocation of N3.19bn.
A former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Nzekwe, told one of our correspondents that the development was laudable provided that the budget would be cash-backed.
He said, 'It is a good beginning. I say this because some years back when subsidy was partially removed, the transport sector felt the most impact of that adjustment. Farmers who transport their goods had to pay much and this led to hike in the cost of food. So, increasing the budget for the sector is a laudable initiative and I think the ministry should look at providing mass transit services. - Punch.