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Reps suspend N22.6bn Petroleum Ministry budget

ABUJA—A whopping N29.7billion proposed by the Presidency to implement the anticipatory Petroleum Industry Act, fund new gas projects, and sundry capital  projects, suffered a set back yesterday, as the House of Representatives Committee on Gas dismissed the estimates for the items as unrealistic and lacking in transparent details.

The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which has been taken through public hearings and several technical sessions within and outside the country, seeks a thorough regulation of the petroleum industry, while the other projects are expected to shore up the daily production of gas for domestic, commercial and other industrial use to 1,013 cubit feet per day.

The Ministry of Petroleum Resources made the proposal known through its Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Elizabeth Emuren, at the 2010 budget defence before the House of Representatives Committee on Gas Resources. “The total capital budget of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources for 2010, is N15.1billion: For on-going projects, it is N7.1billion, new projects N8billion, and the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Bill N7.5billion,” she said.

But the Committee chaired by Rep. Igo Aguma(PDP/Port Harcourt I-Rivers), queried the lack of details in the budget, insisting that some of the sub-heads were surreptitiously rolled over to the 2010 budget “to confuse the Committee”.

Recall that the Senate Committee on Petroleum Matters, led by Sen. Lee Maeba, had queried the ministry over the same issue.

The Committee members also took turns to also query subhead of N150million in the Ministry’s budget for the “renovation of the NNPC Tower and the laying of floor tiles from ground 5 to 8 and the furnishing of staff offices”.

The Nigerian Gas Company(NGC) at the presentation of N135.777.91billion its estimates for 2010 budget as it blamed the failure of government to realise the 6,000mega watts target for December 31, 2009 on lack of budget provision by the National Assembly.

The Committee in a serio-comic session that lasted for an hour also set aside a $2.1billion budget by National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS).

The Committee queried the Management of NAPIMS represented by Mr. Paul Duro Ajisafe, for re-presenting the items contained in the 2009 proposal.

The Committee Chairman instructed the NAPIMS representative, to exhaust the $800million still in its kitty on the projects it listed for 2010, before it would given a fresh budget by the National Assembly.

The lawmakers argued that since the 2009 fiscal year was extended to March this year all unspent budgets by NAPIMS and other agencies should spill over to this fiscal year.


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