Senate approves NDDC’s N346.3bn budget for 2019
By Anthony Isaac
With just two months to the expiration date for the implementation of 2019 fiscal budget, the Senate has approved the N346,388,900,000.00 budget for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for the 2019.
The 2019 fiscal year budget expires in May 2020.
The approval came following an engaging debate between Senators who were divided over the late passage of the Commission’s budget.
Chairman of the Committee on NDDC, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, in his presentation, gave a breakdown of the budget to include the sum of N22,338,190,000 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 by the Federal Government.
On his part, 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.
But two Senators, 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 omission 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.