Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Senate, Thursday, passed the 2016 Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Budget of N241 billion from the proposed N260 billion by the Federal Government.
This was sequel to the consideration of the report by the Senate Committee on NDDC during the Plenary.
Prior to the approval, the senators expressed their support for the Budget in view of the dire need to develop the Niger Delta region.
Presenting the report, the Chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC, Senator Peter Nwoboshi, said President Muhammadu Buhari presented a Budget proposal of N260 billion for the fiscal year 2016.
He said the proposal was, however, reduced in order to make its implementation more realistic.
He said the expenditure included: Personnel – N18 billion, Overhead -N10 billion, Internal Capital – N1 billion and Development Project -N231 billion.
He further said that the revenue sources for the Budget included revenue brought forward of N10 billion, Federal Government contribution of N110 billion.
Nwoboshi added that other revenue sources included oil companies’ contributions and others, amounting to N130 billion, ecological funds of N10 billion and other internally realised income of N100 million.
“Adjustments were made to reflect the new figure of N241 billion. The reduction was made only in the Capital Projects amounting to 8.2 percent. The reduction did not affect the Recurrent Expenditure,” he said.
In his contribution, the Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Shehu Sani, who commended the Committee for a job well done, called on the Senate to pass the Budget in view of the need improve revenue generation for the country.
“They have done a good job. As long as oil remains the engine room in the country, with the blowing up of pipelines we must make sacrifices. If considered, the Budget may address salient issues in the economy,” he said.
Senator Matthew Urhogide, in his contribution, urged the Federal Government to up the outstanding money owed the Commission to enable it carry out its mandate.
He further decried that oil companies, which ought to contribute three percent of their annual budget to the Commission were not living up to the agreement.
“The companies, on their part, do not disclose their budgets to the Commission, and I think the Commission, over the years, derailed in its responsibilities by ensuring that companies kept to the agreement.
“Another source of income is 50 percent from ecological fund, which has not been paid. If all those that ought to contribute to funding the Commission leave up to expectation, the Commission will be able to implement the Budget,” he said.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who commended the Committee for a thorough job, urged the NDDC to ensure proper implementation of the Budget in view of its importance to the people of the Niger Delta Region and Nigerians at large.
Meanwhile, the Senate adjourned Plenary till July 12.