By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Senate, yesterday, scored Ministry of Finance F9, which is West African Examinations Council, WAEC, standard, in budget releases to the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, in 2018.
Senate in the assessment gave the ministry 31.9 per cent for the releases from N30.4 billion approved in the budget.
Meanwhile, the Senate has kicked against what it described as yearly drastic reduction in the capital component of budgetary allocations to the territory.
Speaking, yesterday, in Abuja when Minister of FCT, Muhammed Bello, appeared before the Committee on FCT to defend the 2019 budget, Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Dino Melaye (PDP Kogi West), said capital component of FCT’s budget allocations has plummeted over the years from N109 billion in 2008 to N30 billion in 2019
He said it was even worrisome that of the N30.39 billion approved for capital projects in the 2017 budget of the territory, only N12.7billion was released, which was about 40.1 per cent.
Melaye noted that the declining trend worsened in 2018, when out of the N30.2 billion approved as capital expenditure for the territory, only N9.6 billion was released, which was just 31.9 percent.
He said: “This to us by WAEC standard, is F9 and not acceptable. The trend, if not reversed, is a recipe for failure as far as infrastructural development is concerned.”
According to him, the way out of the yearly poor funding of the FCT budget was for government to prioritise its spending by getting more money for FCT to execute its capital projects , particularly at the various satellite towns.