Minister of state, aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has said that N10.5 billion out of the N18 billion budgetary allocation to the ministry in 2016 Appropriation Bill was released to the ministry.
This amount according to the minister represents 58.3 per cent of the total allocation.
Sirika explained that 52 per cent has have been expended on various projects while 6.3 per cent would be expended before the end of February.
The minister while presenting a his 2016 budget evaluation to the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation reaffirmed the impending closure of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja for the rehabilitation of the runway.
“We have done all that we can, the process has commenced, to culminate in the closure of the airport…Kaduna is ready to receive the expected traffic,” he said, adding that meetings have been held with hoteliers and restaurateurs while the State Government has embarked on rehabilitation of relevant roads.
However, the Committee queried the Sirika over the release of N407 million out of N700 million contract sum for the construction of the terminal building at Jos airport, without commensurate performance by the contractor.
According to documents submitted to the committee by the Ministry’s Director of Finance, Akin Ijiwole, zero per cent performance was recorded for the project.
Chairman of the committee, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha frowned at skeletal documents submitted by the Ministry for the expenditure of the 2016 budget, saying it lacked relevant details.
The committee therefore issued a 48 hour ultimatum to the ministry to submit fresh documentation detailing appropriations, releases, expenditure in the 2016 budget.
Onyejeocha in her opening address, said the committee is focused on the implementation of the 2016 budget, continuity of projects from previous budgets, new projects to be undertaken in 2017, and budgetary provisions for maintenance of previous projects.
“The aviation sector is of enormous importance to our nation and matters concerning expenditure and revenue projections require careful consideration to reap the benefits the sector has to offer,” she said.