The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Beta Edu has cried out that unless the allocation to her ministry in the 2024 budget is appropriately raised, she would be completely unable to meet her mandate of tackling poverty in the country.
Edu spoke during the defence of the 2024 budget of her ministry before the National Assembly joint Committee on Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation on Tuesday.
She said her ministry was given an overhead ceiling of N532.5 billion which represents a 28 per cent increase over the 2023 budget to cushion the effects of inflation.
“It is pertinent to note that the 28 per cent increase in the overhead ceiling is not commensurate with the 27.33 percent inflation rate in the economy today.
“Conversely, the capital budget ceiling was reduced from N3.7 billion in 2022 to N1.3 billion in 2023 and this represents a 71 percent reduction.
“However, the pittance capital ceiling of N1.5 billion, an increase from the current year’s budget, does not in any way match the mandate of the ministry to shrink poverty in Nigeria.
“Simply put, there was over 71 per cent reduction between 2022 and 2023 so the minimal increase between 2023 and 2024 does not in any way match the mandate which we have been given and what is expected of us.
“At this point, I will plead humbly and sincerely with the chairman, co-chair and members of this great committee that as we look into Nigeria as a nation, “the burden lies on us to actually tackle the issue of poverty with sincerity.
“One thing you can take from me and my team working under President Bola Tinubu is that he truly wants Nigerians to be out of poverty.
“Except the budget is appropriately raised, we would be completely unable to meet that mandate.
“It will be words that would not be matched with actions. I am happy that you represent constituencies and senatorial zones. A lot is expected of you from your constituencies to meet their real sincere demands.”
Edu said the ministry has several special projects which will be used to meet its target.
She said the Federal Executive Council recently approved the creation of the Humanitarian and Poverty Eradication Trust Fund.
According to her, the trust fund is expected to receive contributions from the Federal Government, 30 per cent counterpart funding from donor agencies and development partners.
“We also have 30 per cent coming from the private sector and 10 per cent from other innovative funds of resource mobilisation which we have already started engaging in over 111 days in office.
She appealed to the committee and the appropriation committee to help the ministry by providing an appropriation for its budget line.
Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Idiat Adebule, pledged that the committee would take a critical look at the budget estimates.