Senate decries alleged poor budgetary provision for DICON

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Senate Committee on Defence has decried alleged poor budgetary provision for the Defence Industrial Corporation of Nigeria(DICON) in the 2022 budget proposal currently before the National Assembly.

Chairman of the Committee, Sen.Aliyu Wamakko (APC -Sokoto), made the remark when Director-General of DICON, Maj.-Gen Hassan Tafida, appeared before the committee to defend its 2022 budget estimates.

Wamakko said it was worrisome that a paltry N2.1 billion was allocated to DICON for production of necessary military weapons for the Nigeria Army in 2022.

Wamakko, however, assured that the committee would ensure that adequate fund was allocated to DICON to ensure smooth execution of its mandate.

Also, Sen. Abba Moro (PDP- Benue), said it was unfortunate that DICON was being reduced to a company that produces mere bullets when, other nations like Brazil it started production of military equipment with had moved on, now producing military aircraft.

He lamented that Nigeria was not ready for industrial revolution as far as production of military equipment was concerned.

Sen. Elisha Abbo (APC- Adamawa), however, said there was no where in the world where government produces military weapons, but in advanced countries, governments partner with private companies to produce weapons and later buy from them.

He stressed that it was high time government started encouraging research and partner with indigenous companies to produce weapons for the nation’s military as done in some developed countries.

Abbo also called on government to stop further importation of AK 47 refiles and empower DICON to start massive production of the weapon to move the company forward in view of the government’s huge investment in DICON.

Tafida, while defending the budget estimates said a total of N2.1 billion was allocated for capital expenditure for the agency.

This, he said was short of N300 million from N2.4 billion capital expenditure allocated for DICON in 2021.

Tafida also urged the committee to increase the overhead proposed for his agency, noting that N250 million proposed was grossly inadequate.