NDDC Budget defense: Senate Committee warns against extra-budgetary spending

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Senate Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has sternly warned the NDDC board to stick to government’s policy thrust in their budget implementation.

Chairman of Senate Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Senator Peter Nwaoboshi handed down the warning at the board’s budget defense on Wednesday.

He said the Committee was closely monitoring budget spending of the Commission, saying that what was happening there was a sad story.

He reminded the Commission of President Buhari’s stance on budget implementation to the effect that every agency of government should prioritise their budget spending.

The lawmaker insisted that the Parliament which approves annual budget for Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government had statutory power to monitor same, saying that unbudgetary spending would not be tolerated.

“We have invited you to defend your budget and in line with NDDC Act Section 18, you are required to submit your budget to the National Assembly for approval.

“If you don’t have approval and you spend money, it is against the law. We hear so many things, but we insist you abide by the Act that set up the NDDC.

“Mr. President addressed the National Assembly on 2nd October, 2019 and he was very clear on his position about MDAs particularly on project execution which he said, no project should be abandoned.

“Mr. President said, he hoped the National Assembly would share his view, so we are inviting you to defend your budget, even as we share the policy standpoint that you prioritise your infrastructure.

“We did request for list of emergency projects and we can’t see them. In order not to stop the budget defense, if you can’t avail us the list, you would be allowed to defend your budget, but we are going to conduct public hearing.

“We did approve about N100 billion and we can’t approve another budget if we don’t know what is happening in NDDC,” he said.

The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Gbene Dr. Joi Nunieh who appeared before the panel with the entire management of NDDC apologised for not availing lists of emergency projects.

She promised to make the list available at a later date, adding that the Commission was conscious of President Buhari’s directive.

“I like to appeal sir, that your request for emergency projects are being worked upon and by next week, we will make them available when ready.

“I take responsibility for not providing the list of emergency projects. We can’t lay hands on the documents now, but latest by Wednesday, the list would be made available, distinguished Chairman,” she said.

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