The chairman senate committee on power, steel development and metallurgy, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, has said that 30 billion naira was smuggled into the power budget. According to him, the 30 billion naira was listed for expansion and reenforcement of infrastructure in the distribution companies to reduce stranded firms. He argued that his committee was not aware of the insertion. He said that: “The amount never passed through the senate power committee. Where did such huge sum of 30 billion naira come from? “Let the budget office and other relevant bodies conduct self-examination. Such self-examination will go a long way to clear gray areas”. The south-east senate caucus has also expressed shock over the cut in the budget allocation for the Enugu airport terminal.
Speaking on the issue, Senator Abaribe, chairman of the caucus, said an emergency meeting of south-east lawmakers had been summoned to unravel when the cut was effected and by who. He said that “no right thinking Igbo man would support any cut on allocation for projects in the south-east region”. According to him, the budget documents were verifiable and noted that “we are committed and determined to find out who made the cut”. The senator said members of the caucus actually lobbied for the Enugu airport terminal allocation to be increased to 3.5 billion naira until the ministry of aviation told them that it could not be increased beyond the 2 billion naira allocation.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2018 budget on Wednesday, revealing that the national assembly made cuts amounting to 347 billion naira in the allocation to 4,700 projects submitted to it for consideration. He also said 6,403 projects were injected by the lawmakers, amounting to 578 billion naira. The president said many of the project cuts were critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation.