June 6th, 2013 – Senate Stops Patience Jonathan’s N4 Billion First Ladies’ Mission House Project
The Senate on Wednesday dropped the controversial African First Ladies’ Peace Mission House project when it passed the N259.65bn budget of the Federal Capital Territory for the 2013 fiscal year without approving the N4bn appropriated for it.
In February when the budget proposal was brought to the National Assembly, it contained N4bn vote for the construction of the mission house in Abuja, a development that attracted a lot of criticisms from members of the public.
The Senate, during the second reading of the bill, questioned the rationale of committing scarce resources to prosecute a less important structure.
Civil rights groups and political parties had also berated the Federal Capital Territory Administration for budgeting N4bn for the construction of the building for a non-governmental body headed by the wife of the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan.
They had contended that since the Federal Government had earlier declared the mission as a non-governmental organisation, it would be inappropriate for the same government to spend public funds on it.
Presenting the budget report on Wednesday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Smart Adeyemi, said, “It is worthy of note that the proposed appropriation for the construction of building for the African First Ladies’ Peace Mission has been distributed to meet pressing needs in the area of engineering and satellite towns.”
A breakdown of the budget showed that N48.03bn was approved for personnel matters; N49.5bn for overhead; N97.54bn for recurrent expenditure; and N155.66bn as capital expenditure.
Adeyemi said the budget was predicated on a projected revenue of N259.698bn with a fiscal surplus of N645,666.
He also said that in carrying out its oversight duties, the committee identified critical areas of need for the development of the territory and to ensure improved standard of living for its inhabitants.
[Report culled from Punch]