By Umar Muhammad Puma
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral IE Ibas has attributed inadequate resources as factors hampering their effective operations.
Speaking before the House Committee on Navy during the 2017 budget performance/ 2018 budget presentation, Ibas emphasised that the navy’s funding challenge had resulted in its inability to meet certain operational milestones.
According to him, the funding pattern is merely a continuation of the situation that had endured for several years.
“It needs be said that the funding challenge is unavoidable under the regime of the Zero Based Budgeting (ZBB).
“The appropriation which is drastically limited ab-initio by the ZBB, is seem to be further substantially progressively decreasing each year from the budgeted funds to the appropriated amount down to the final releases across both the capital and overhead votes.
“Often in some cases with less than 5 per cent of the budgeted amount only accessed. On account of such poor funding profile, the service is unhealthily deficient in practically all operational key enablers,’’ he said.
Ibas added that some of the areas badly affected include the inability to achieve the milestones of Nigeria Navy ORBAT.
According to him, several projections made the current ORBAT require huge outlay for the deployment of the requisite structures, and the absence of robust funding; it has been in impracticable to activate these projections.
He also said that there had been difficulty in maintaining e operational sustenance.
“Notwithstanding that the size of the fleet itself is too lean for the maritime expanse to be covered, its support is already impracticable with the meagre budgetary releases.
“With the recent fleet expansion following the induction of about 150 boats and 3 news ships by the close of 2016 and early last year, the logistics outlay has also increase substantially, making it extremely difficult for the Nigerian Navy to sustain its operations.
“The funding deficit experienced has also severely constrained the Nigerian Navy in its capacity to deliver the required training infrastructure, which would be necessary to meet the service manpower need in number and quality.’’
Ibas stressed that inadequate barrack accommodation and other welfare structures were major challenge to Nigerian Navy, even as the moderate growth in strength is unsupported by the very poor rate of accommodation and other welfare item delivery.
The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Abdussamad Dasuki, decried the dwindling allocation to the Nigerian Navy over the year.
According to him, in view of the advancing security threats and scarce resources, there is no better time than now to re-evaluate the envelope system of budgeting as it concerns the Nigerian navy.