By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
Senate yesterday decried yearly dwindling budgetary allocations for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT, Abuja).
This was even as the upper legislative chamber wondered why out of the N30bn allocation appropriated for the FCT as capital votes, only N12.19bn was released by the Ministry of Finance.
This were revelations at the 2018 budget defence Session the FCT Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Musa Bello had with the Senate Committee on FCT.
The Minister said out of the N30bn given to FCT in the 2017 fiscal year, only N12.19bn was released, representing 40.1% budget performance as far as execution of capital projects are concerned.
He however disclosed that the 2018 budgetary allocation for FCT is N40billion which according to him, is not enough for the execution of proposed critical infrastructural projects across the territory.
He however explained that 27 of the projects are being prioritised based on projected allocations.
Worried by the submission of the Minister, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West), decried the situation whereby only about 41% of the current 2017 capital budget has so far been implemented.
He therefore urged the federal government to prioritize the FCT budget saying it occupies a strategic position and plays important role as far the image and development of the country is concerned.
“Available records show that from 2008 when N109bn was allocated to FCT to the current 2017 budget which was N30bn, budgetary allocations for development of the capital city of the most populous black Nation in the world have been reducing on yearly basis.
“This is unacceptable. This committee will get the senate informed to as a matter of urgency, prevail on both the Ministers of Finance and that of Budget and National Planning, to prioritize budgetary allocations to FCT and effect 100% releases of its capital votes”, he said.