Security: Govt Must Partner Private Sector for Funding, N4.785 trilion Spent on Defence in 4yrs- Hon Igariwey
The Vice Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. . Iduma Igariwey revealed that the Federal Government budgeted over N4.785 trillion for defence between 2019 and 2022.
The Ebonyi federal lawmaker made the disclosure at the National Defence College Abuja on Friday while delivering a paper of defence budgeting.
In his paper titled, “Effective Defence Budgeting and National Security in a Lean Economy: The Role of the National Assembly” Hon Igariwey stated that “the Nigerian state, budgetary allocations to the defence and security sector has been on the rise, although with fluctuations. For instance, the total budgetary allocation to the sector in 2018 was #576.4billion, constituting 11.30% of the budget. In 2019, it was #590billion, 12.10% of the budget; #899.9billion, 13.40% in 2020; #994.1billion, 11.9% in 2021; and #1.2trillion, 12.80% in 2022.”
Noting that the rise in defence budget in Nigeria started with the advent of Boko Haram in 2009 which has since culminated in the escalation of security threats to Nigerians and the Nigeria state, the lawmaker called on governments at all levels in Nigeria to rise up to the occasion by justifying the humongous resources being poured into defence by tax payers.
He said that it is imperative that “governments at all levels become very inventive, ingenious and prudent in resource allocation and utilisation in order to achieve expected outcomes, which in this case is the protection of Nigeria’s sovereignty and territoriality, as well as the security and wellbeing of the citizens.
Igariwey noted that the National Assembly understands that though the monies appropriated for defence in Nigeria may appear huge, when compared to the demands of modern security needs it becomes obvious that the funds are inadequate.
He noted that as a way of mitigating the shortfall, the 9th House of Representatives pushed create additional source of funding for the defence through the sponsorship of the Armed Forces Support Fund (Establishment) Bill which was short down in the Senate due to questions bordering on accountability.
“…This was the thinking that compelled the House of Representatives Defence Committee in the 9th Assembly headed by Representative Babajimi Benson to initiate and sponsor the Armed Forces Support Fund (establishment) Bill, which passed in the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate in September 2022 for concurrence. The aim of this Bill was to provide special financial support for revamping of the Nigerian Armed Forces with the provision of regular training and modern security and defence equipment. However, this Bill did not get the necessary support from the Senate, where arguments over accountability of appropriated funds to the defence sector derailed anticipated concurrence,” he narrated.
He therefore, called on the “governments at all levels, partner with corporate organisations to establish special funding for the defence and security sector, such as trust funds,” as a way of shoring up deficits and gaps in defence funding in Nigeria.