Despite the federal government’s proposed that the 2023 budget be increased to N20.5trn, the budget for the Ministry of Works and Housing has been reduced to N356 billion from N482 billion budgeted in 2022.
According to a report by DailyTrust, the ministry is responsible for the repairs and maintenance of over 33,000 kilometres of federal government road across the country as well as building social housing.
Though the ministry is one of the supervisory agencies for the construction of legacy projects of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, the government does not fund the projects through the ministry.
The projects, which include the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and the Second Niger Bridge, among others, are funded by the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund through the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority.
Even though the administration has emphasised its desire to update Nigeria’s critical infrastructure, inclusive of road networks, the minister has complained about the low budget it receives in effectively carrying out its responsibilities.
As such, other initiatives were developed to improve the funding of roads in the country. The initiatives include the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, SUKUK bonds and Highway Development Management Initiative (HDMI).
Despite this development, analysis of the proposed budget indicated a drop in allocation for capital projects in the ministry, though its personnel and overhead costs were increased when compared to the budget of 2022.
The proposed budget for the Ministry of Works and Housing and the seven agencies under it is N356bn but in 2022, the budget was N481.9bn.
From the N356bn, N321bn was budgeted for capital projects, N16.5bn for personnel and N18.5bn for overhead costs.
In contrast, N450bn was budgeted for capital projects in 2022, N15bn for personnel and N16.9bn for overhead costs.
However, the budget for the Federal Housing Authority was missing in the proposed 2023 budget.
Analysis also showed that over 70 per cent of the budget was dedicated to the parent ministry in the 2023 budget as it would get N300bn
The ministry will spend N288.5bn for capital projects and N11.2bn and N667m on overhead costs.
Also, N2.2bn was budgeted for the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federal, the Federal School of Survey, Oyo State, also proposed to spend N1bn.
The Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) proposed N51.5bn. The Survey Council of Nigeria wants N303.1m and the Regional Centre for Training in Aerospace Survey, in its budget, wants N70m which will be spent on capital projects.