A letter has been forwarded by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, over the N206 billion inserted into her ministry’s 2023 Appropriation Bill.
Farouq insisted that she is not aware of how N206 billion was inserted into her ministry’s budget.
In a related development, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi also accused the Finance Ministry of inserting N11bn into his ministry’s 2023 budget.
Similarly, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, also accused the Ministry Of Finance of padding his ministry’s budget proposals.
Farouq in the letter dated, Wednesday, November 23, 2022, and forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Finance, asked for clarification on how N206bn came into the budget.
She insisted that the 2023 budget proposal her ministry submitted to the Budget Office did not contain N206bn.
A source in the Finance and Accounts Department of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, while speaking with Vanguard on condition of anonymity said a letter was sent to the finance ministry after a meeting held on Wednesday.
The source said, “As a ministry, we have just sent a letter today (Wednesday) to the Federal Ministry of Finance, requesting clarification on the additional figure inserted into our ministry’s budget in the 2023 fiscal year.
“Going by the content, we expect a response from the Ministry of Finance between now and Friday after which we will reach out to the National Assembly on our position. We are disturbed and the minister is not leaving anything to chance. We want a quick clarification of the inserted figure in our ministry’s 2023 budget proposal.”
A top policymaker in the ministry, who spoke on the issue said Farouq was embarrassed when members of the Senate Committee on Special Duties asked her about the N206bn when she appeared before the committee to defend her ministry’s 2023 budget proposal at the National Assembly.
He said, “I was there, the Senate Committee asked the minister how she came about the additional money outside the initial proposal submitted to the Budget Office and the minister responded that she didn’t know. Truly, as a ministry, we didn’t know how the N206 billion found its way into the ministry‘s budget proposal.
“Everything about that money, she (minister) actually does not know anything about it. And like I said, as a ministry, we don’t know. We just saw it there.”