The House of Representatives, in an amendment to the act establishing the Maritime Operations Coordinating Board, has earmarked one percent of the Maritime Fund to the Navy.
This amendment is meant to better address its funding challenges.
The amendment reconstitutes the board to include a representative from the navy as a member. This is to ensure that the navy would also be allocated one percent of the fund derived by Maritime Fund, accruing to the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) under its establishing Act.
The Chairman of the Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Hon. Mohammed Umar Bago, presenting the report, said the navy would now be able to enhance its capacity to better police the Maritime environment and protect the Nigeria’s maritime territorial integrity.
He added that the amendment became necessary in the face of dwindling budgetary allocations to the Navy, and the urgent need to properly fund her, in discharge of her constitutional mandate.
Chairman Committee on Navy, Hon. Abdussamad Dasuki, while commenting on the amendment, noted that Nigeria cannot afford to not properly fund the outfit, in the face of rising challenges in the maritime sector.
“The passage of this amendment, is a sign of our commitment, working with the House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, to ensure better funding for the navy, considering its economic benefits to securing Nigeria’s waterways and make the country more resilient to internal and external aggression,” he said,
Dasuki said the proportion of the total allocation to the Navy, to the national budget in 2015, was 1.73 percent, but dropped to 1.41 percent in 2016, 1.25 percent in 2017 and further to 1.11 percent in the 2018 appropriation bill.
“In 2017, out of the over N26 billion allocated to the Navy’s capital projects, only about N15 billion was released. For overhead, over N4 billion was appropriated and N2.3 billion was released. This is unacceptable. For instance, seven patrol vessels on 24 hour surveillance for 30 days will consume diesel worth N1billion,” he said.
He lamented that with such development, the Navy cannot perform optimally in discharge of its duties.
“These are people sacrificing their lives to ensure the safety of our exclusive economic zone, the overall maritime domain, and we are here giving them inadequate equipment, that is very unfair to the nation itself. But now they can procure equipment and manage their ships better,” Dasuki said.