The Senate on Thursday approved the sum of Three Hundred and Forty-Six billion, Three hundred and eighty-eight million, Nine hundred thousand naira (N346,388,900,000.00) as budget for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for the 2019 fiscal year.
The approval came following an engaging debate between Senators who were divided over the passage of the Commission’s budget.
Chairman of the Committee on NDDC, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, in his presentation, gave a breakdown of the budget.
According to him, the sum of N22,338,190,000 is for Personnel Expenditure; N13,466,810,000 for Overheads; N4,083,000,000 for Internal Capital Expenditure and N306,500,900,000 for Development Projects.
Raising the first objection to the passage of the NDDC budget, Senator Olamilekan Adeola (APC – Lagos West), argued that the passage of the NDDC budget for the 2019 fiscal year will create a distortion in the books of the Federal Government since implementation of the budget is expected to time out in May this year.
He, therefore, suggested to the NDDC Committee to review its work and submit the 2020 budget for the Commission so as to ensure synchrony with the January – December budget cycle already being implemented.
Another lawmaker, Senator Bassey Akpan (PDP – Akwa-Ibom North East), while aligning his views with that of Adeola, explained further that accommodating the 2019 budget of the commission will defeat the purpose for which Nigeria’s budget cycle was returned to the January – December timeline.
Two lawmakers, the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi and Senator Ahmed Baba-Kaita (APC – Katsina North), held a different view and prevailed on their colleagues for the Senate to pass the budget of the commission, provided that projects captured in the 2019 fiscal year are subsequently rolled over by the committee into the 2020 budget.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who was swayed by the argument of both lawmakers, advise the committee to roll over projects captured in the last six months of 2019 into the January – May timeline of the 2020 budget so as to accommodate a schedule for the. O mission that aligns with Nigeria’s January – December budget cycle.
The Committee was given two weeks to submit its report on the 2020 budget for the NDDC, so as to enable the upper chamber consider it expeditiously.
Meanwhile, the Senate on Thursday observed a minute silence in Honour of Nigeria’s former Minister of Science and Technology between 1985 – 1989, Professor Emmanuel Emovon, who died on February 20, 2020.
This was even as the upper chamber resolved to send a delegation to pay a condolence visit to the family of the deceased in Benin, and the government of Edo State.
The resolution was reached by the Senate following a motion brought to the floor through a point of order by Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP – Edo South).
According to the lawmaker, Professor Emovon who was also the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos (1978 – 1985), contributed immensely to Research in Nigeria through the establishment of Research Institutes to broaden the scope of resource exploitation and application.