March 21, 2024

Over 65% of Agric Ministry budget not related to food security, agric — Ita Enang

Ita Enang, National Assembly

Ita Enang

Former Presidential Aide on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang said over 65 per cent of the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture are not related to food security and agriculture.

Enang stated this in an interview on Arise Television on Wednesday.

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He said the budget is not properly aligned because President Tinubu signed the 2024 budget in a rush without being advised by his special advisers and other ministers.

Enang said, “The situation where the National Assembly passed budget on the 31st and the President comes back on the 1st and signs the budget, it’s not budgeting because, Mr. President has not had the opportunity of using his ministers, his ministerial advisers;

“…his special advisers, special assistant, the ministers, the heads of agencies and parastatals, and the directors in the ministries, to read, to examine and reexamine the extent to which that budget is submitted before the National Assembly has been passed and in accordance with the agenda he has.

“Look at the Ministry of Budget, and I want to challenge Nigerians to look at the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture and I repeat again, Nigerians, take special interest, check the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture and see the extent to which the matters that relates to agriculture are included in that budget.

“The matters that relate to agriculture and food security is not up to 35% in the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture. What you have in the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture 2024 are extraneous to agriculture. I take responsibility for what I have said. I have read the budget, I have read the budget and it is not.

“So, take again the budget of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, to what extent are the provisions there relevant to harvesting fish, getting fish and harvesting the resources of the blue economy, taking advantage of the parastatals and agencies in the blue economy? To what extent?

“These are the things that should be the concern of the legislature, of the executive, and which ought to have been taken account of by the Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Government, the ministers in the course of advising Mr. President to sign the budget.

“Passing the budget on 30th or 31st and giving the President budget to sign on the 1st, and Mr. President not having the advantage of being advised on the budget being appraised and advised on by his ministers and aides, is what I call legislative ambush.”

Enang, while addressing the reports of regional division within the Senate, said it is a dangerous thing to be happening in the country.

He said, “The governors have not shown the level of atrocious division that is playing out in the Senate and I want to plead that we shouldn’t go that far. I want the Senate, with respect, it shouldn’t be. It actually shouldn’t be.

“The House should be emulating the Senate, but it seems the House is a lot more coherent in terms of non-divisive deliveries than the Senate,” he added.

The former presidential aide appealed to the Senate saying, “Senate, please, keep the honour of the Senate. Keep the unity of the Senate and the country.

“You are the benchmark of the legislature in the country. And please, play down more on the question of division,” he added.