The Senate yesterday approved N1.4trn as 2021 and 2022 budgets of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
Of the amount, N485.7bn is for the 2021 fiscal year; while N928.2bn is for 2022.
The approval followed the consideration of a report by the Senate Ad hoc Committee on 2021 and 2022 budget estimates of NDDC at plenary.
The immediate former president, Muhammadu Buhari, had earlier this year, asked the Senate to approve NDDC’s budgets for 2021, 2022 and 2023.
The request for approval came after the interventionist agency had spent the funds for the 2021 and 2022 financial years, totaling N1.4trn without appropriation.
Buhari, in the proposals transmitted to the parliament, had said a total budget of N485.7bn was proposed for the NDDC in 2021, N928.2bn in 2022 and N876bn in 2023.
The chairman of the Senate committee, Senator Yusuf A. Yusuf, said the details of revenue and expenditures of 2021, 2022 and first quarter of 2023 were not provided as requested for the committee’s thorough scrutiny.
He said the committee could, therefore, not ascertain if the expenditures incurred duly follow the financial regulations and confined within the bidding thresholds.
He said despite the NDDC not meeting its contractual obligations, the committee recommended the approval of the budgets considering the fate of about 40 million people in Niger Delta.
He said there was a trust deficit between the NDDC Board and Management.
He said the trust deficit caused the management to ignore board’s decisions, and rendered the board less efficient to the extent of not being able to compel the management to follow due process, or impose sanctions where necessary.
The committee urged the Senate to mandate its Committee on Niger Delta Affairs to resolve the trust deficit between the NDDC board and its management to ensure that the commission is legally compliant in all processes.