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2020 budget: Senate approves N453.2bn for NDDC’

The Senate on Monday lifted the embargo and passed N453.2 billion as the budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for the 2020 fiscal year.

This followed the presentation of the report of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs by the Vice Chairman of t he Committee, Senator Amos Bulus (Gombe South) at the plenary.

The upper chamber also approved a recommendation by the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta for an extension of the budget implementation timeline to March 31.

The approval followed consideration of a report by the Committee on Niger Delta.

The Committee in its recommendation noted that the revenue profile of the Commission for year 2020 comprised of N12 billion revenue brought forward, Federal Government contribution of N63,506,151,945.00, contributions of oil companies, Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) and others – NN317,493,848,055.00, Ecological fund – N60billion and other internally realised income of N200million.

Bulus added that after due consideration, the Committee recommended that the expenditure profile of the NDDC for year 2020 should include a personnel cost of N27.389billion, overhead – N13,937,244,107.00, internal capital expenditure of N2,793,755,893.00 and development projects – N409.08 billion.

He added that the sum of N100 billion reflected as unpaid arrears by the Federal Government was not considered as part of the Commission’s revenue projection by the Committee because the amount was not approved in the 2020 Appropriations Act by the National Assembly.

The committee further recommended that the 2020 budget of the NDDC would elapse on March 31.

All the recommendations of the Committee were approved by the Senate after due consideration.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks charged the Senate Committee on Niger Delta to ensure the proper utilization of funds by the commission through strict oversight.

He said, “I want to emphasise here that our Committee on Niger Delta should sit-up and ensure that these funds are properly utilized.

“The committee has done a good job in the past, and I’m sure it will continue with that,” the Senate President said.

Rising, Senator Seriake Dickson (PDP – Bayelsa West) sought the permission of the Senate President for a motion to be considered to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately constitute the board of the NDDC.

He noted that the budget for the NDDC was initially suspended because there was no statutory commission in place.

According to him, replacing the illegal interim management committee with a sole administrator amounts to replacing illegality with illegality.

Responding, the Senate President said the National Assembly would continue to engage the Executive on the need to immediately constitute the Governing Board of the NDDC.

He said, “I think you have made the point. Even without a motion, you have stated this and it is recorded. And, I have stated this, too.

“We have been engaging with the Executive arm of government that the nominations into the Governing Board should be made. We have been making that point and will continue to push until it is made.

“I think we are getting there, so even if we don’t take any motion, I’m sure the explanations you have given will go a long way.

“I don’t think the Sole Administrator should be there for any long period of time, but it is for us to ensure that between now and when that administrator goes, the funds appropriated are properly utilized.”

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