Reps decry poor funding of National Women’s Centre

Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Women Affairs, Hon. Adewunmi Onanuga on Monday expressed disgust over low budgetary allocation to the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), Abuja, on an annual basis.

Hon. Onanuga who expressed the concern during the Centre’s 2019/2020 budgets defence, frowned at the steady decline in the capital allocation for the Centre in the last three budget circles.

The lawmaker, who acknowledged the laudable performance of the agency in the area of training for women and empowerment programmes, stressed the need for upward review of the annual budgetary provisions.

“I am asking you questions on your (budget) envelop in order to juxtapose what happened from 2017 to 2019 in terms of budgetary allocation to the Centre, where there was a steady figure for a few years. But it has now dropped drastically.

“We would like to know why the drop in your allocation despite how your agency implemented empowerment programmes for women mostly those in the grassroots.

“When you look at the level of implementation of Zonal Intervention Programmes (ZIPs) in 2017 and 2018 as contained in what you have presented to us, I see the need to ask, aside from the probability of austerity measures or the fact that we came out of a recession, why you overall allocation is low,” she observed.

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Also speaking at the hearing, Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Vincent Ofumelu and Hon. Bashiru Daudu tasked the Centre on the need to improve its revenue generation drive as the figures for its budget were inadequate.

They also stressed the need to reduce Overhead and Recurrent expenditure through the deployment of ICT and the use of alternative energy.

“The total money we are seeing as your budget for 2020 is obviously not enough. So, you must come up with plans to expand funding for your programmes and budget, especially from within,” he said.

Speaking earlier, NCWD Director General, Mrs Ekpere-Eta, disclosed that the Centre submitted a budget proposal of N6.5 billion for capital expenditure while the Budget Office of the Federation pruned it to N200 million in the budget estimate submitted to the National Assembly.

Mrs Ekpere-Eta who argued that the allocation would leave the agency in the limbo solicited for the intervention of the National Assembly.

Speaking on the 2018 budget performance she said the Centre got N2.026 billion as allocation for capital expenditure, with a release of N1.039 billion. Giving a breakdown she said N408 million was allocated for personnel costs, N438 million for Zonal Intervention Projects, N194 million for Overhead, while N30 million was from internally generated revenue.

According to the 2019 budget implementation report, out of the total sum of N1.999 billion received by the Centre, the sum of N310 million was for zonal intervention projects, N74 million for Overhead while the sum of N37 million was realised as internally generated revenue.

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