The Senate yesterday queried the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) yesterday over a strange N2 billion allocation in the 2017 Budget for Regional Housing Scheme by the Ministry of Finance.
The controversial vote is part of a total N64.991 billioin budgetary allocation for the Housing sector for the 2017 fiscal year.
But Fashola immediately denied the knowledge of the said N2 billion even as the Senate Committee on Land, Housing and Urban Development summoned the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, whose ministry is alleged to have inserted the strange money in the Housing budget.
The Minister told the Senate Committee that the Ministry of Finance planted it into the 2017 budgetary proposals of the Housing segment of his ministry as its own initiative dubbed “Regional Housing Scheme”.
When asked by the committee chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade (APC, Benue), on how the N2 billion insertion came about, Fashola said; “I know as much of it as you do because it is not our initiative.”
Consequently, Senator Gemade ordered the committee clerk to write the Minister of Finance to appear before the committee for explanation on the questionable allocation.
Meanwhile, according to Fashola the breakdown of the housing budget include National Housing Progromme – N41.89bn; construction, completion and rehabilitation of Federal Secretariats at N5.379bn; Zik Mausoleum and Prototype Housing Scheme N1.325bn; and projects and programmes under PPP at N3.367billion.
Others are Cadastral URD and Lands N3billion, URD/Special Projects N2.140billion, Payment of Outstanding Local Debts N1.2billion and Constituency Outreach Intervention Projects N1.69 billion etc.
However Fashola requested the committee to add N6billion to the total budget estimate of the Ministry for payment of the $11.9million Nigeria is owing Shelter Afrik, a Housing Development and Financing Organisation, which has 44 African countries as members.