June 11, 2024

Senate passes NDDC 2024 budget

Senate mulls establishment of Health Infrastructure Development Agency

…jerks it by N44,833,046, from N1,911,800,000,000 to N1,911,844,833,046

By Henry Umoru

THE Senate has passed the 2024 budget of N1,911,844,833,046 for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

The NDDC budget was jerked by N44,833,046, where it moved from the initial  N1,911,800,000,000 that was defended on Monday by the Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, Samuel Ogbuku when he presented  the NDDC aggregate Expenditure of N1.911 trillion tagged ” Budget of Renewed Hope Agenda” before the Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong,  APC, Cross River South led Senate Committee on NDDC to N1,911,844,833,046.

The budget was read the third time and passed after the clause by clause consideration.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong submitted its report in less than 12 hours after the public hearing on the budget, where the NDDC Managing Director, Samuel Ogbuku, appeared for defence of the budget.

According  to the Senate,  it considered increase by N44.8 million in Personnel Costs, Overhead Costs, Internal Capital estimates as well as adjustments in the Reve profile of the Commission, as well as considered the extra sum of N44, 833,046 being the difference from the Revenue  Projections proposed by the Commission and the amount approved  by the National Assembly as reflected in the Appropriations Act, 2024.

Ekpenyong said, “the Committee considered increase In Personnel Costs, Overhead Costs, Internal Capital estimates, as well as adjustments in the Revenue profile of the Commission. The Committee also considered the extra sum of Forty Four Million, Eight Hundred and Thirty Three li) Thousand and Forty Six Naira (N44,833,046) being the difference from the Revenue Projections proposed by the Commission and the amount approved by the National Assembly as reflected in the Appropriations Act, 2024 and consequently recommends the following as the expenditure profile: Personnel Expenditure- N38,545,349,193 Overhead Expenditure- N29,246,506,753 Intemal Capital Expenditure -N8,785,574,130;  Development Projects- N835,267,402,970 and  Legacy Critical Projects to be funded through Borrowings – N1,000,000,000,000.TOTAL EXPENDITURE: N1,911,844,833,046.

“That the lifespan of the Year 2024 NDDC budget should elapse on 3ist December, 2024.”

The passage of budget was sequel to the consideration of the report of the Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) that was presented by  the chairman, Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong, APC, Cross River South.

Shortly after presenting the budget, Senator Olamilekan, APC, Ogun West) observed that the Chairman of NDDC Committee was silent on the performance on 2023  upon which the 2024 was predicated.

Senator Adeola who  was the first to pick holes in the report and queried how the budget performance of the agency for 2023 was not properly assessed before approving the 2024 budget in line with the legislative tradition,  said that it amounts to process abuse for a proposal to be adopted without finding how the previous year budget was executed to justify fresh proposal, adding, “There is no mention of the performance of 2023 budget, so on what is the proposal for 2024 predicated?”

The President of the Senate, , Godswill Akpabio had to contend with complaints on observed lapses by Senators who made contributions on the bill.

Speaking in the same vein, Senator Adamu Aliero, PDP,  Kebbi Central who  explained that NDDC has proposed to borrow N1 trillion in the budget proposal which he observed was not in the borrowing plan of the Federal Government, however  admonished NDDC, as a child of necessity that  must use the money appropriated to it to serve the interest of the people, adding that NDDC’s budget is more than two states put together without the impact been felt.

He said, “NDDC is a child of necessity and the money must be used in the interest of the people, even as its budget is more than two states and we have not seen much”.

On his part, Senator Seriake Dickson, PDP, Bayelsa West  called for support of NDDC having gone through forensic audit so that request for borrowing could be brought later by President Bola Tinubu.

In his contribution, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, APC, Edo North maintained that things have improved in the NDDC and explained that the President could write to the Senate for borrowing after the budget might have been passed into law, urging lawmakers not to “judge the NDDC by its dirty past”.

He recalled how the South South governors called for forensic audit of accounts of the NDDC.  “Mr. President, you recalled that we as governors agreed that forensic audit of NDDC be carried out.  This was done and jobs done were paid and those not done were separated.”

After contributions, the President of the Senate, Akpabio called for vote and the budget was passed into law.