Senate Alleges High Level Duplication In 2018 Power Ministry Budget
How President Buhari Government and APC tend to eradicate corruption in Nigeria is still a question yet know! Even as the APC government has been found allegedly guilty of wasteful spending, missing money, funds not be able to be trace. But yesterday the Senate Committee on Power alleged high level of duplication of items in the 2018 budget estimates of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, heading by the former Lagos Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.
The Senate describing it as embarrassing and unacceptable. At a budget defence session with 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 earmarked N100 million for transfer and management of office files and documents . “Year in year out, the ministry presents the same items in the budget and asks for more funds to execute the same projects, ” the Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe- led committee said .
Clifford Ordia (Edo Central ) queried the duplication captured on three different pages of the budget. “I need to understand this thing. Look at the different pages , you earmarked N 120 million , N 288 million and N 480 million for the purchase of vehicles Are these vehicles different? If you add up these figures, they will give you about N888 million .
The Senate also queried on what is stated in the budget, as having to pay “ 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.
Hassan Mohammed ( Yobe ) said the lawmakers were tired of being bombarded every year with the same items . He urged the ministry to put its house in order . Abaribe revealed that the 2017 budget (capital) of the ministry only recorded 18 per cent performance . “
There was a mild drama when the minister could not respond to questions threw at him. Instead, he appealed to the committee to allow the permanent secretary provide the answers on his behalf. His appeal was rejected by the lawmakers .
“You were sent here to represent the minister. It means you are here to respond to our questions . Last week, we invited the permanent secretary to respond . Today , it is your turn. “My colleagues asked me how come you are the person here and not the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola. But I told them since you were also a minister , you could be here on behalf of your minister , ” Abaribe told Shahuru.
There was no official explanation of why Fashola did not turn up. Shahuru simply said Fashola was attending to other state matters. Fashola was last Thursday walked out by the lawmakers over alleged “ unpreparedness to face the committee for his 2018 budget defence. ”