The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, on Wednesday pleaded with the federal government to release the N4.5 billion balance from its 2013 capital expenditure to enable it deliver Operational Patrol Vessels (OPVs) in May.
Jibrin, who made this plea while appearing before the Senate Committee on Navy to defend 2014 budget of the service, also said if the money was not released to complete acquisition of the vessel, it would be a huge embarrassment to country.
According to him, out of the N142.2billion capital allocation for the Navy in 2013, only N9.6billion was released, leaving the balance of N4.5billion being withheld.
He also lamented the rapid reduction in the budget of the service and pleaded for a review saying doing so would enable the Nigerian “Navy to have presence all around Nigeria’s territorial waters.
He added that this would also help them to take care of cases of oil theft and pipeline vandalism which he said had been taking tolls on Nigeria economy.
“It is in the interest of the nation to equip the Navy to patrol the seas of the country.
In 2014, we will need ships, helicopters, we also have to spend on barracks rehabilitation and hospitals. Expenditure of the Nigerian Navy should be seen as investment that would help the economy,” he said.
Jubrin also advocated the establishment of Naval Trust Fund, saying the fund realized through this platform would go a long way in meeting the needs of the Nigerian Navy and as well enhance the service.
“This is one way that the Nigerian Navy could be developed. It is the way to develop the Navy as it is done in order oil producing countries,” he added.
While presenting 2014 budget of the Nigerian Navy to the Senate committee, the Naval boss said whereas the sum of N171.4billion was proposed by the service as capital budget, it was reduced to N7.9billion, representing paltry four per cent of the proposal.
He also said of the N 7.9 billion, N5.2billion would be spent on Operational Patrol Vessels, adding that the initial N23.1billion proposed for overhead, was also reduced to N5.1billion as a result of the envelop system being operated currently.
Further, he said the N5.1billion was not enough to take care of the needs of the Service adding that this implies that the organization would face operational constraints in 2014.
He also disclosed that in 2014, the Navy would spend N56.1 billion on personnel cost as he emphasized the need to establish Naval base at Oguta Lake, saying the presence of Navy on this lake was imperative.