The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has said 22 aircraft were recently procured for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to support various on-going military operations across the country, particularly in the fight against Boko Haram.
According to Abubakar, by July 2015, the aircraft serviceability status of the NAF was below 60 per cent, but, now, the aircraft serviceability status has improved beyond 80 per cent.
Abubakar disclosed this when he declared open the NAF Finance Training Workshop, with the theme “Strengthening the NAF Finance Specialty for Efficient Service Delivery in Support of NAF Operations,” at the NAF headquarters in Abuja, yesterday.
The air chief, who was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Air Vice Marshal M.A. Mohammed, said the NAF has been able to deploy its platforms in support of military operations through prudent management of resources.
He added that the NAF was not only striving to improve on the present status, but has complied with measures put in place by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure transparency and accountability in governance.
“In line with the anti-corruption drive of Mr. President, Commander-in-Chief, the Nigerian Air Force has complied with measures put in place by the Federal Government to aid transparency in government’s financial transactions, such as the Treasury Single Account, Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, as well as the ongoing biometric data capture for the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, just to mention a few,” Abubakar said.
“The recent feats achieved by the service cost a lot of money. For the government to continue providing the necessary funds to support Nigerian Air Force operations, it behoves on you to continue to maintain high level of integrity as finance personnel in the management of these public funds.
“It is pertinent to state that, despite a decline in governmental allocation, the Nigerian Air Force, alongside sister services, has been able to achieve commendable successes in counter-insurgency and the fight against banditry plaguing various regions of the country.
“The Nigerian Air Force has been able to effectively deploy its platforms to these areas in support of sister services. This much was achieved through prudent management of resources allocated to the service and strict compliance with procurement laws.”
In his remarks at the event, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, said deficit financing of the nation’s budgets over the years has remained a challenge in tackling various commitments of government, stressing that five major countries of the world that topped security and military spending have continued to increase their budgets for security and the military because of increasing security challenges.
Idris, who was represented by Alhaji Mohammed Usman, said: “It is a known fact that, in recent years, our nation is faced with obvious security challenges that, if not because of the tenacity of government, the situation would have been so unnerving and overwhelming, especially if one weighs in paucity of funds and our other politico-economic challenges.
“If the situation is juxtaposed against other contending sectors yearning for attention in terms of provision of social services and infrastructure, then the monster in the challenge of security funding cannot be more unveiled. The nation must, therefore, deeply think and come up with appropriate funding template that would provide stability towards the delicate balancing of national priorities.
“Our national appropriation had been majorly deficit-budgeted for so many years now. This simply means that the revenue projections were lower than the projected expenditure, therefore, government had to depend on borrowing.”