The Senate has finally approved the astronomical sum of N346,388,900,000.00 as the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) budget for the 2019 fiscal year.
The approval of the NDDC budget came after a strenuous debate between the Senators who were seemingly divided over the passage of the commission’s budget.
Chairman of the Committee on NDDC, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, in his presentation, provided a proper breakdown of the NDDC budget.
During the breakdown, he said that the sum of N306,500,900,000 is for Development, N22,338,190,000 is for Personnel Expenditure, N13,466,810,000 for Overheads, and N4,083,000,000 for Internal Capital Expenditure and Projects.
The first objection to the passage of the NDDC budget was Senator Solomon Adeola (Lagos West). He contended the passage of the NDDC budget for the 2019 fiscal year, claiming the approval of the budget will create a grimace in the books of the Federal Government since the implementation of the budget is supposed to end in May this year.
He, therefore, urged the NDDC Committee to review its work and submit the 2020 budget for the Commission to synchronise it all at once with the January – December budget cycle already being implemented in the budget.
More so, Senator Akpan Bassey (Akwa-Ibom North-East), supported Adeola, noting that if the 2019 budget of the commission is included it will, therefore, defeat the purpose for which Nigeria’s budget cycle was returned to the January – December timeline.
The Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North) alongside Senator Ahmed Baba-Kaita (Katsina North), instructed the Senate to pass the budget immediately, so long as the projects in the 2019 fiscal year would be rolled over into the 2020 budget.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, later advised the committee to roll over the projects captured in the last six months of 2019 into the January – May timeline of the 2020 budget so as to properly accommodate a schedule for the NDDC that aligns with the normal January – December budget cycle.