…seeks exit from envelope system
…proposes 138 barracks’ rehabilitation, training facilities
The Nigerian Army has protested against the reduction in its proposed 2022 budget of N710 billion to N579 billion by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning. The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya, spoke on Wednesday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on the Nigerian Army for the appraisal of the 2021 budget performance as well as scrutinize the Nigerian Army submissions for the 2022 budget proposal. According to Yahaya, the reduction will affect the Army in carrying out its constitutional duties, particularly the ongoing war against Boko Haram and other criminalities across the country. The COAS urged the National Assembly to prevail on the finance ministry to exempt the Army from the current budget ceiling or envelope allocation system.
He therefore demanded a review of the subsisting envelope budget system to enable the military to deliver on its constitutional mandate. Yahaya appealed to the committee to impress it on the finance ministry to begin the release of the Year 2022 Nigerian Army Capital Budget in the First Quarter 2022. According to him, this will help the Army to rehabilitate dilapidated structures in over 138 barracks and training facilities across its units and formations as well as procure equipment and platforms to prosecute the war against terrorism and other criminalities.
Yahaya disclosed that on assumption of office he outlined a vision geared towards ensuring a disciplined and professional Army where soldiers’ welfare, training, good administrative support, provision of needed weapons and platforms, among others, would be guaranteed at all times.
The military chief said, “As we are all aware, the theatre of operations has expanded beyond the North-East to other zones. Thus, manpower requirements of the Army have also been increasing to accommodate the attendant needs. “Consequently, the NA is gradually implementing the NA Order of Battle (NA ORBAT) 2016. This has led to the Nigerian Army expansion from 5 to 8 divisions, establishment of Nigerian Army Battle Fitness Centre and other operational and administrative commands and units amongst others to bridge the gaps being exploited by bandits and other criminal elements.
“The Army of the present must, by necessity of the changing nature of the battle space, develop novel processes, strategies and tactics to overwhelm the enemy in kinetic and nonkinetic battles; win hearts and minds; and safeguard our nation’s territorial integrity, prestige and honour. “This requires deliberate investment in leadership capacity building, planned strategic procurement of necessary equipment and infrastructure, personnel welfare, battle resilience and combat efficiency.” Yahaya the operation to rid the country of Boko Haram and other criminal groups would continue in the coming year.
Chairman of the committee, Sen Ali Ndume (APC-Borno South) said the provisions made in the 2022 budget for the Army was inadequate in view of the enormous responsibilities of soldiers. Ndume likened the envelope budgeting system to attempting to keep the expenditure of the Army within an envelope when the challenges confronting the military was already way beyond what can be pocketed in an envelope. The lawmaker also said it was vain to place a ceiling on military budget when the problems it had to tackle had already gone beyond the roof.