The Ministry of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has finally transmitted the 2019 budget proposal of the commission to the National Assembly for consideration as required by its Act.
A top official of the Ministry told the Tribune Online in confidence in Abuja over the weekend that the Minister, Senator Godwin Akpabio gave the approval for the transmission of the documents to the two chambers of the National Assembly last week following the alarm raised by the House Committee on NDDC that the Commission was still operating with 2018 budget contrary to the Act that established it in 2000.
At the inaugural sitting of the committee on last week Wednesday, the chairman of the house committee on NDDC, Hon Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo disclosed that the Management of the Commission had failed to furnish the National Assembly with its 2019 budget proposal as well as that of, 2020 as required by the law.
According to him, “as we speak, the Commission is yet to submit its 2019 budget appropriation to the National Assembly for approval in line with the Act that sets it up not to talk of the 2020 one.
“Section 18(1) of the NDDC Act 2000 states: “The Board shall not later than 30th September submit to the National Assembly through President and Commander -in- Chief of the Armed Forces an estimate of the expenditure and income of the Commission during the succeeding year for approval.
“Today is October 9th, the Commission is yet to bring the budget for the 2019 fiscal year not to talk of the 2020 of which the Mr President submitted before the Assembly on Tuesday, what has Commission been operating with?”
Consequently, the committee demanded the immediate submission of the budget proposal, failure which vowed to award zero allocation to the Commission.
It was gathered that the budget proposal in question had been with the Ministry for several months for and no action was taken until to committee raised the alarm.
“As we speak, I can confidently confirm to you that we have submitted the budget proposal to the two chambers of the National Assembly immediately as directed by the Honourable Minister and we will be going for its defence before the National Assembly any time from now.
“As to the actual amount in figures involved, that I won’t be able to tell you now because of certain variables, just let us wait till we get to the National Assembly, I don’t want to give you wrong figures,” the Ministry official told the Tribune Online in confidence on Sunday.
Efforts to speak with the Chairman of the House Committee on NDDC, Hon Tunji-Ojo on the matter provided abortive.
However, a member of the Committee who did not want his name in print confirmed that the document is now the possession of the Committee.
According to him, ” it is true, we are now in possession of the commission’s 2019 budget proposal as requested by the committee and also expecting that of 2020 to follow, we are lawmakers and not law breakers, it is not going to be business as usual under this 9th National Assembly .
“Now that the budget proposal is in our custody, we are going to commence the normal legislative works on it immediately.”Read Full Story