By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Ministry of Interior in Nigeria headed by former Governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, has appealed to the National Assembly to increase its budget allocations to enable it to carry out its mandate creditably.
Mr Aregbesola, during an oversight visit to his office in Abuja by the House of Representatives Committee on Interior, said if this issue can be addressed, the coordination of paramilitary agencies under the ministry would be effective, leading to a more organised Nigeria with good security architecture.
“This is a very big ministry with a very small headquarters. We are working very hard with the resources at our disposal to ensure that we are able to fulfil those mandates that have been given to us.
“Recent events in Nigeria have heightened the need for improved funding of internal security,” the Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Shuaib Belgore, disclosed.
“For some years now, the ministry has had to work to deliver and coordinate the activities of her agencies with a really very low budget line. The result of that is that the coordination has not been as effective as it should be.
“However, there have been recent improvements and we will look forward to working with you and with your cooperation and guidance, to be able to have more resources to execute our mandate,” he said.
According to the Minister, in the 2020 fiscal year, the Ministry of Interior has been able to achieve about 95.69 per cent budget performance.
“For the year ended 2019, we had a capital appropriation of N721 million only for which performance was 100 per cent. The overhead was N350.8 million and the expenditure performance for that was also 100 per cent.
“On personnel, we had N2.96 billion for which performance was 99.7 per cent.
“Overall, the ministry of interior (headquarters) had a 99.75 per cent budget performance for the year ended 2019.
“For 2020, the capital appropriation for the headquarters of the ministry up till September 30, 2020, was N2.61 billion and expenditure performance so far has been 94.26 per cent.
“Also, N607.8 million was for overhead, with an expenditure performance of 90.14 per cent. For personnel, we had N915.3 million and we have 99.94 per cent performance on that.
“So far, for 2020, we have achieved 95.69 per cent performance,” the Minister told the visiting lawmakers.
He explained the inability of the ministry to conclude recruitment into the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as well as the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), saying the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the exercise recently.
Mr Aregbesola, however, said that the ministry has concluded plans with the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to conduct a Computer Based Test for candidates who have been shortlisted.
Earlier, Chairman of the committee, Mr Nasiru Sani Zango-Daura, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Emmanuel Ukpon-Udo Effiong, said the oversight visit was necessary as the nation prepares for the 2021 budget.
He said; “In preparation for the 2021 budget exercise, the House Committee on Interior resolved to embark on an oversight tour of all the ministries and agencies under its legislative and oversight jurisdiction to ascertain the level of implementation of their 2019 and 2020 appropriation.
“Following the receipt of your 2019 and 2020 budget performance reports, we communicated our intention for an oversight visit in order to have an on-the-spot assessment of the said implementations.
“The House Committee on Interior is here on a fact-finding and not a fault-finding mission”.
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