The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation on Thursday questioned the allocation of N10 million for the sensitisation of staff of the Federal Ministry of Aviation to Independent Corruption Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Act.

The committee also raised objection to the allocation of N200 million for consultancy fee on the concession of four international airports in the ministry’s 2021 budget.

Speaking during the 2021 budget defence in Abuja, a member of the committee, Rep. Akin Alabi (APC-Oyo), said that N5 million was budgeted for the ministry for the ICPC Act sensitisation in the 2020 budget.

“ICPC Act sensitisation, you want to sensitise your members of staff about (to) ICPC, last year (2020) N5 million was budgeted for it, this year, (2021) N10 million.

“This is to sensitise them to the ICPC Act, I do not get that, can you explain that?

“A lot of Nigerians are not impressed about the National Carrier project, the working capital for the national carrier in the 2020 budget, N2.2 billion allocated and this year 2021, you are asking for N1 billion.

“Can you explain what you mean by working capital because I know it is definitely not to buy planes so can you explain what these billions, year-in-year-out is meant for as regards working capital.

“For the concession of four international airport, Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt, last year, N297 million was budgeted for it and this year, you are asking for N200 million.

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“What type of consultancy is this that will cost half a billion? For the national carrier, you are still requesting for N250 million for consultancy,” he said.

Responding, the Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, said that it was important that members of staff were in the ministry and agencies under it were sensitised to the Act.

He said it was extremely important to sensitise and make everybody follow the rule and ensure they ran on the narrow path of peace and justice

Sirika said that the ministry was out to establish a strong national carrier that was commensurate with the population size, market, manpower of Nigeria, and would add value to the economy.

He said that the ministry had grown the number of passengers from eight million to 18 million since 2015 and airplane management had significantly improved.

According to him, this can be made much better if we have a well established, well structured private sector-led national carrier.

“The fact that the money is there in the budget, does not mean it was released or utilised; since we began this project, the amount spent on the activities of carriers so far if I am not mistaken, is N350 million.

“By the grace if God, I want to assure this committee and indeed all Nigerians that this national carrier will come to be and it will be for the benefit of our people,” he said.

On the 2020 budget performance, Sirika said that N40.2 billion was allocated for capital expenditures but was reviewed downward to N33.3 billion because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister, however, said that only N19.4 billion, representing 58.3 per cent had been so far released to the ministry.

Sirika said that N250 million was budgeted for overhead expenditures but was reviewed to N171 million and that N132.8 million representing 77 per cent had been so far released.

The minister said that for the 2021 budget N78.9 billion was earmarked for capital expenditures.

He said that N250 million is proposed for overhead cost while the personnel cost is N397 million, making a total of N647.1 million for recurrent expenditures.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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