Budget and Finance Ministers shun Senators
Nigerian Senate Thursday warned that unless something drastic was done, the country would be plunged into a state of uncertainty following the inability of the federal government to mobilize another batch of Corp members expected to report to camp as from tomorrow.
Chairman Senate Committee on Sports, Chief Obinna Ogba who handed down the warning together with members of his committee disclosed that in the past one week, prospective Corps members have been bombarding his phones with calls.
The leadership National Youth Service Corps, NYSC had on Wednesday announced postponement of camping for stream 11, batch A Corp members.
While appearing before the Senate Committee today, Minister of Youth and Sports Development Solomon Dalung who equally confirmed that his phone lines have been subjected to numerous calls as a result of no-mobilization of Corps members disclosed the plight of Nigerian Youths seeking to observe the compulsory Youth service began after the present administration failed to capture NYSC scheme in this year’s appropriation act.
He further revealed that his ministry when preparing 2016 budget proposal submitted nothing less than thirteen billion naira, N13, 000, 000, 00 to the budget office only to be told it was not contained in the budget during defence and after the budget was passed.
Dalung who took time off to tour various NYSC camps located in parts of the country in recent times also stated efforts made to explain how he approached both ministry of Budget and Finance with a view to finding solution but effort was yet to yield any result.
According to him; “We anticipated this national disaster early enough, that’s why we included it in the budget proposal last year but was surprised it was not captured. We anticipated in 2015, we drew the attention of government through writing on the need for urgent steps to be taken to avert unforeseen situation. And the issue of the NYSC programme is that something that has to do with figures. You can manipulate it.
“There is high burning zeal attached to NYSC. We have been writing. Since the past few days, I have been shuttling between my office and that of budget and Finance. Where we are now is to see if we can capture the NYSC budget in the supplementary budget proposal later in the year. It’s an emergency that requires urgent attention.
Responding, the Senate Committee through its Chairman Ogba insisted that the Minister of Budget and National Planning must appear before it after they failed to do so yesterday.
Ogba added “the Minister of Youth has done his best. We are in a serious precarious situation begging for attention. By now, we expect to hear from both Ministers of Budget and Finance on the way forward but they are not here. They didn’t inform us why they couldn’t make it except if they didn’t get our invitation letters.”