07 January 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian military may have finally concluded plans to offset part of its huge electricity debts in 2017, as revealed by the budget provisions of the Ministry of Defence.
In the 2017 budget submitted to the National Assembly, the Ministry of Defence budgetary allocation shows that N2,350,954,000 will be used to settle part of its more than N9 billion indebtedness to Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
These debts were accumulated by the three armed forces over some years.
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, last year, informed the House of Representatives Committee on Defence that the debts accumulated over the years due to the failure of the services to pay their electricity bills.
Electricity debts of the Army, Navy and Air Force were captured in the 2017 budget of the Ministry of Defence, which Dan-Ali presented to the House in Abuja.
The document, which was obtained on Wednesday, also included the ministry’s judgment debts of N11.8bn.
On the electricity bills, the document stated, “PHCN (defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria) outstanding debt. This is an accumulated debt for the services arising from non-payment of their electricity bills. The amount involved is N9.4bn.”
Out of the N16bn proposed as capital vote for 2016, the sum of N11.8bn was earmarked for “judgement debts.”
The Ministry of Defence have on several occasions decried inadequate allocation of funds for various projects and welfare. The ministry also indicated that nationwide rehabilitation of military barracks will cost N2.2 billion in 2017.
The budget shows that while N 1,225,000,000 will be spent on water facilities, N150,000,000 will be used for rehabilitation of barracks across Nigeria.
Also, the military’s cemetery facilities in Lagos and Kaduna are to be upgraded with N14m this year.
Other projects for the ministry in 2017 include the establishment of a military industrial complex at a cost of N450 million, the purchase of “security equipment” at N500 million, and the furnishing of the offices of the minister, the permanent secretary and directors at N190 million.
Again, the ministry will plunge N726,820,215 into settlement of bills for outstanding contractors.
A breakdown of the MOD’s N26. 4 billion 2017 budget proposals also shows that N585. 9 million as “Claim for loss/damages on the forceful closure of 269 shops at Giwa Barracks, Lagos.”
Also, N2. 5 billion will be used to pay for court judgements following the forceful closure of 269 shops at Giwa Barracks, Lagos, in 2007.