By Emmanuel Aziken
Abujaâ€”The Senate Committee on Solid Minerals has asked the Minister of Solid Minerals, Mrs. Dizeanni Allison-Madueke, to justify the continued existence of the ministry, arguing that it had failed to develop the sector.
The demand by the Senate panel coincided with another query it raised over the directive that more than N300 billion accrued for the development of the sector under the Natural Resources Fund be diverted to the Agriculture sector.
The Senate committee raised the posers when the minister came for the budget defence hearing of the ministryâ€™s 2010 budget allocation proposal.
Mrs. Allison-Madueke, who came with senior officials of the ministry during the budget hearing chaired by Senator George Sekibo, Chairman of the committee, however, listed the performance of the sector under her.
She said personnel and overhead budget performance was 100 per cent while capital budget performance was 35 per cent and would increase by year end.
On the natural resources fund, she said: â€œThe Natural Resources Fund from which we would have accrued a certain percentage, however, that fund was given by Mr. President to the Ministry of Agriculture solely for the next four years, I think it was given last year.
”We did actually write detailing our programmes to request a small percentage to be allocated to us, but it was reiterated to us that it had been solely given to agriculture for the next four years and, for that period of time, we certainly cannot derive any benefit from it.â€