Budget defence: NASS concerned over slow implementation of Communication capital allocation

… rejects zero capital allocation for NIPOST

By Haruna Salami

National Assembly Joint Committee on Communication has   expressed concern over the slow implementation of the capital budget of the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy in 2021.

It was observed that though there was 84% release out of the N4.991 billion capital budget, the actual implementation was just 27%.

But the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami explained that the delay in implementation was beyond the Ministry, blaming procurement process as the main constraint.

“The money was released on 26th October, 2021 and after the release, you must get approval from Bureau for Public Procurement”, Patami lamented.

In another development, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Oluremi Tinubu was not comfortable with the zero allocation to the Nigeria Postal Service, (NIPOST), as capital vote from N137.2billion capital votes earmarked for the Ministry as well as the three parastatals under it in 2022.

In the proposed N160.593 billion budget for the Ministry, NIGCOMSAT, NIPOST and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the Ministry got N85.231 billion for capital votes , NIMC N46.533 billion and NIGCOMSAT N5.440 billion, NIPOST has zero allocation.

Dissatisfied with the proposal, Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central) said it was wrong for the agency not to be given any capital vote for  2022 fiscal year.

Senator Tinubu specifically the Minister whether the zero capital budget allocation proposed for NIPOST in 2022 was based on non-request by the agency or lack of fund.

The Committee, she added, may have to appropriate something for the agency if there is no solid reason for the zero allocation .

The Minister in his response said, he was not against some votes taken from the capital estimates of the Ministry for NIPOST .

“I’m not against the Committee taking about N200 million from N85.231 billion capital vote of the Ministry to NIPOST”, he said.

He added that unbundling of NIPOST will be carried out in 2022 by setting up three different agencies out of it, particularly Property and Development Company that will manage the 2,500 properties of the agency scattered across the country.