Reps commend Navy on performance, skip budget scrutiny

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Navy on Monday decided not to scrutinise the budgets of the Nigerian Navy for three years, saying the military outfit had performed well.

The committee, at its budget defense session, asked the Chief of Naval Staff, Awwal Gambo, to skip presentation of Navy’s 2020 and 2021 budgetary performances, while it adopted its 2022 proposal as presented, promising to allocate more funds to the outfit.

The Chairman of the committee, Yusuf Gagdi, had called on Gambo to present 2020 and 2021 budget performances, as well as the proposed estimate for 2022.

During the presentation, Gagdi asked the Chief Naval Staff to skip to the ‘challenges’ section of the presentation; and as Gambo touched on 2021 budget presentation, Gagdi, again, asked him to skip to 2022 proposal.

According to the chairman, the committee had “gone round and we have seen most of the things you are saying.”

After the Chief of Naval Staff’s presentation, Gagdi said, “At the risk of political misrepresentation, the committee notes what you are talking about because we have gone round the country to see the challenges and to equally see the level of implementation of those budgets.

“You have done well. We will not be scared to say…any agency that has done well, we will not be scared to say it; even if you are going outside there to give a different picture of what we are saying. I think it is always sincere to motivate and encourage people that are doing well.

“It is the wish of this committee to accept what you have proposed and equally make a case for you to ensure sufficient funding for the Nigerian Navy. I, therefore, without any much waste of time, adopt the position of the committee.”

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Earlier in his opening remarks, Gagdi said the committee observed “with pessimistic views, the spill-over projects – against agreed timelines – by some contractors, including some that spanned beyond three-year period without any signs of completion, hand over to the Navy or concrete work-in-progress.”

He stated, “Henceforth, the House of Representatives and the National Assembly will not hesitate invite any MDA, and in this case the Nigerian Navy, where it fails to checkmate any erring contractor whose stock in trade is to waste tax payers money by taking for granted the delivery of public goods and services within specified timeframe and quality of job(s).”

The lawmaker recalled that the committee had between October 19 and 29 undertook an oversight visit to the headquarters, bases and formations of the four commands of the Nigeria Navy in order to acquaint the members with the achievements, challenges and future projections of the Navy within the period under review.

He said, “Owing to what were seen on ground and within the insufficient appropriations made in the exiting year 2021, this honourable committee did observe that there were generally commendable performances of the Navy in the last one year.”

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