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N30bn smuggled into power budget, says Abaribe

Enyinnaya Abaribe, chairman, senate committee on power, steel development and metallurgy, says N30 billion was smuggled into the power budget.

He said the N30 billion was listed for expansion and re-enforcement of infrastructure in the distribution companies to reduce stranded firms.

The senator said his committee was not aware of the insertion.

He said: “The amount never passed through the senate power committee. Where did such huge sum of N30 billion come from?

“Let the budget office and other relevant bodies conduct self examination. Such self examination will go a long way to clear gray areas.”

Meanwhile, the south-east senate caucus has expressed shock over the cut in the budget allocation for the Enugu airport terminal.

Abaribe, chairman of the caucus, said an emergency meeting of south-east lawmakers had been summoned to unravel when the cut was effected and by who.

The senator said, “no right thinking Igbo man would support any cut on allocation for projects in the south-east region”.

He said the budget documents were verifiable and noted that “we are committed and determined to find out who made the cut”.

Abaribe said members of the caucus actually lobbied for the Enugu airport terminal allocation to be increased to N3.5 billion until the ministry of aviation told them that it could not be increased beyond the N2 billion allocation.

President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2018 budget on Wednesday, revealing that the national assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocation to 4,700 projects submitted to it for consideration.

He also said 6,403 projects were injected by the lawmakers, amounting to N578 billion.

The president said many of the project cuts were critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation.