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Senate Summons Fashola Over 2018 Budget Duplication
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Senate Summons Fashola Over 2018 Budget Duplication

Eniola Awokoya

The Senate Committee on Power has summoned the Minister of Power, Works and housing Babatunde Fashola, over what it called high level of duplication of items in the 2018 budget estimates.

The Senate Committe described the occurrence as embarrassing and unacceptable.

At the Ministry’s budget defence session which had in attendace, the Minister of State, Mr. Mustapha Baba Shahuru and the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Frank Edozie, the lawmakers observed that N120 million, N480 million and N288 million were separately budgeted for purchase of utility vehicles.

The ministry also allegedly earmarked N100 million for transfer and management of office files and documents.

The leader of the committe Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, said “Year in year out, the ministry presents the same items in the budget and asks for more funds to execute the same projects,”

Senator Clifford Ordia, on his part, queried the duplication captured on three different pages of the budget.“I need to understand this thing. Look at the different pages, you earmarked N120 million, N288 million and N480 million for the purchase of vehicles. Are these vehicles different? If you add up these figures, they will give you about N888 million.

“You also said that you want to spend N100 million on transfer of office files. How do you intend to do that? The people in your office, what have they been doing? I can also see from your estimates here that you captured another item for ICT, different from the N100 million for transfer of files. You need to explain these things,” he said.

Abaribe revealed that the 2017 budget (capital) of the ministry only recorded 18 per cent performance.“We will take it that the 2017 budget was abysmally low at only 18 per cent performance. This is unacceptable and I need to put it on record,” he said.

The panel chairman and the committee,  concluded the session by insisting Fashola must be present at the Ministry’s next budget defence session.