The House of Representatives, yesterday, sought explanations from Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on the status of the $470 million Federal Capital Territory (FCT) closed circuit television (CCTV) project.
Chairman of the committee, James Faleke (APC-Lagos), said there was need for Nigerians to get value for monies paid.
“Before this administration, we collected some loans and the one that strikes me the most is the $460 million for CCTV installation in Abuja.
“I want to know the position of this loan; I am sure we are paying back, but the CCTV is not working.
“Anytime we take loan from China, the Chinese will come and do the job, they will bring all their equipment, the personnel and the goods and yet we do not have value for the money, especially that of the CCTV.
“Where are we? I need you to look into it and send us a memo on this particular aspect,” he said.
Responding, Zainab Ahmed said that Nigeria was servicing the loan but she had no explanations on the status of the project.
“We are servicing the loan but, on the project, we will have to ask the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Authority because the project was deployed in the FCT. I have no information on the status of the CCTV.
“The the conditions of the loans that we take from China always will be that a Chinese company will provide the infrastructure services.
“These are loans that are of 3 per cent, the rail lines are being rolled out, the Abuja-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan rails are all loans from China and are being executed by Chinese companies,” she said.
Ahmed said the Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano airport rehabilitation projects were done by Chinese companies and were supervised by the relevant ministries and the National Assembly to ensure quality work. She added that there were a lot of Nigerians working with the Chinese on the projects.
On the 2019 budget releases, the minister said, by October, the ministry had released 100 per cent for personnel cost.
Ahmed said, for debt service, payment was also 100 per cent and, for overheads, six out of 10 months had been released.
She said some critical ministries had, however, received overhead for nine months.
The minister stated that, as at October 15, N654 billion had been released for capital expenditure. According to her, the plan is to ensure that, by December, every ministry, department and agency has received at least 40 per cent of its capital expenditure.
The permanent secretary, Mohammed Dutse, said that N1.3 billion was earmarked for overheads in the ministry and N664 million released.
He said N3.3 billion was allocated for capital expenditure in the ministry but only N1.8 million had been released.
For the ministry’s 2020 budget, the permanent secretary noted that N4.36 million was proposed for personnel cost, N1.3 billion for overhead and N3.3 billion for capital expenditures.
Meanwhile, that Minister of Health, Dr. Emmanuel Osagie, has said that plans were on to maximise the skills of Nigerian medical experts in the Diaspora to develop the medical system in Nigeria.
The minister made this known at a session with the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, on Thursday, in Abuja.
He said Nigerian medical experts abroad, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom had often organised themselves to give back to the Nigerian society through free medical services.
Osagie said that a structure that would maximise the benefits of such missions and aid transfer of knowledge and experience to local experts was being designed.
The minister said there was a need to also make the Nigerian medical environment more comfortable for the experts to return to Nigeria.
Chairman of the committee, Tolu Shadikpe (APC-Oyo), said that the committee had made a commitment to prioritise the life of every Nigerian in the Diaspora.
She said everything legally possible would be done to safeguard their lives for them to live side by side with other Nigerians peacefully.
Shadikpe said the committee was willing to work with relevant agencies to maintain a progressive relationship that would benefit Nigerians in the Diaspora.