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Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Breaking: NDDC Budget defence stalled over missing N143b

Breaking: NDDC Budget defence stalled over missing N143b

The Budget defence of the Niger Delta Development Commission has been halted over a missing N143 billion in the 2019 Budget of the intervention agency.

The Interim Management Committee of the NDDC, led Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, had appeared before the National Assembly Joint Committee on NDDC for the 2019 Budget performance and also presentation of the 2020 Budget proposal for consideration on Tuesday.

Pondei had at the presentations told the lawmakers that the Commission received N305.5 billion as revenue in 2019 and spent N122 billion from the amount received, with a balance of N183.2 billion.

Pondei said: “In compliance with the provision of the 2019 Appropriation Act, we implemented the 2019 capital budget till May 31.

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“On the expenditure side, 2019 Budget implementation was hindered by the delay in its approval and release, coupled with the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“Only recurrent expenditure, which runs from January 1st to December 31st, 2019 was implemented substantially.”

However, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, observed discrepancies of N143 billion after the presentation of the Managing Director of NDDC .

The Commission was expected to have brought the balance of N183.2 billion forward in the 2020 Budget proposal, but the report submitted to the Committee showed only N40 billion.

Tunji-Ojo then queried Pondei on the discrepancies in the 2019 Budget report of the Commission.

Pondei at that point quickly requested for the withdrawal of the 2019 Budget details in order to address the issue of discrepancies of N143 billion raised by Tuniji-Ojo.

The lawmakers were, however, angry with the tactically call for the withdrawal of the 2019 Budget review for re-presentation.

The Chairman of Senate Committee on NDDC, Senator Peter Nwaboshi, yielded to the request of the NDDC boss and adjourned the budget presentation till next week Tuesday.

The Commission is currently under investigation by the House of Representatives and Senate.

While the Senate is investigating the mismanagement of N40 billion by the Commission, the House is investigating N70 billion collected by contractors without executing any project.

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