The Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mine, Steel Development and Metallurgy has decried the alleged neglect of Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Project by non-provision of required budgetary votes on yearly basis.
Chairman of the committee, Sen. Tanko Al- Makura, made this known during the budget defence for Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on Monday in Abuja.
He said that the yearly ritual called budget is garbage in and garbage out, which according to him would not take the country to anywhere on true economic diversification.
“The type of budgeting process being carried out in this country over the years is stereotypical one.
“It is wrong for budget to be conceptualised in the ministry, enveloped and forwarded to the National Assembly for approval,” he said.
In his contribution, Sen. Smart Adeyemi (APC-Kogi West) said that “how on earth would a minister propose N82 billion for procurement of mosquitoes net and a sector as important as the solid minerals get N10 billion?”
Adeyemi lamented that Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex that could give jobs to about 50, 000 Nigerians is lying fallow in a country with army of unemployed youths.
“Nigeria is bleeding from this envelope form of budgeting riddled with repetition of line items and allocations on yearly basis.
”Government may be building infrastructure but building infrastructure is not as good as creating wealth through diversification of the economy.
“The best way of doing this is to remove whatever bottleneck hindering continuation of work on the complex and get it completed,” he said.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, was represented by his Minister of State, Dr Uchechukwu Ogah.
In his presentation, he said that, out of the N23.4 billion budget profile for the ministry in 2022, N10 billion was for personnel cost, N1.47 billion for overhead cost and N11 billion for capital projects.
The minister said that the envelope budgeting was not the creation of the ministry as it affected other government agencies.
“My appeal to you distinguished senators on the current model of budgeting is for the National Assembly to seek the attention of the President.
“Operating with envelope as far as yearly budget is concerned doesn’t make one think out of the box,” he said.