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Nnamani deplores low vote for social protection as EFCC earmarks N31b for 2022

By Leo Sobechi and Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
26 October 2021   |   4:13 am
Chairman, Senate Committee on Cooperation and Integration in Africa/ New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, has said the budgetary provision for social protection in next year...

Chairman, Senate Committee on Cooperation and Integration in Africa/ New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, has said the budgetary provision for social protection in next year’s appropriation bill does not reflect the current situation of health, education and poverty in the country.

Nnamani, who is also a member of the Senate Committees on Health, Foreign Affairs, Land Transport and Women Affairs, noted that 52 per cent of Nigerians, who live under extreme poverty, cannot afford basic needs.

The former Enugu State governor said although Budget 2022 is tagged, ‘budget for economic growth and sustainability’ with a package of N16.39 trillion, he is worried about its capacity to address poverty, inequality, unemployment and social protection.

He said: “Social protection revolves around health, education, social development and poverty eradication. 130 million people live under unsafe and unhygienic conditions. Nigeria is at the top globally in terms of open defecations; and top globally in terms of out-of-school children, which is about 16 million.

“In terms of global gender cap indices, Nigeria is 123 out of 153 countries globally. Looking at the budget in the area of social protection, you have education, N1.29 trillion or 7.9 per cent; health, N820 billion or five per cent and poverty eradication N863 million or 5.3 per cent.”

The Senator declared that the allocations are “obviously below the standard recommended by international organisations, including United Nations and African Union, which is put at 12 to 15 per cent.”

This came as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, presented a budget of N31,350,512,836 to the National Assembly for its 2022 operations.

The figure represents a slight increase over the N29,575,694,747.46 appropriated for the Commission in 2021.

A breakdown of the 2022 estimate indicated that N25.89 billion was earmarked as personnel cost; N3.6 billion as overhead cost, while N1.85 billion was projected for capital expenditure.

While presenting the budget to the Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, headed by Senator Suleiman Abdu Kwari, the Executive Chairman of the Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, gave an overview of the performance of the 2021 budget.

Represented by Director of Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkol, the EFCC boss disclosed that of the total of N29.57 billion appropriated for the Commission in the current year, N27.7 billion had so far been released.

Bawa, however, identified funding as a major challenge of the anti-graft agency. He said this has affected activities of the Commission in areas of training, technical equipment, procurement of operational vehicles and upgrade of ICT infrastructure.

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