President Muhammadu Buhari has transmitted the 2019 and 2020 budget estimates of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the Senate.
The budget was conveyed in a letter which was read out by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday.
“Pursuant to Section 18(1) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) (Establishment) Act, I forward herewith, the 2019 and 2020 Budget Estimates of the Niger Delta Development Commission, for the kind consideration and passage by the Senate,” part of the letter read.
Details of the proposed budget were not stated.
The bill comes four months after the expiration of the commission’s 2018 budget. The NDDC’s budget is usually presented to the National Assembly every July.
After the letter was read, the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia), urged the president to swear-in the members of the board of the commission recently approved by the Senate.
“Of course, what it will mean is that the budget will go to the relevant committee of appropriation and the NDDC Committee and some persons will come to defend the budget.
“Having regard to the fact that this Senate has confirmed members of the board of the NDDC and they are yet to resume office, Mr President I fear that we may run into a problem of delayed budget again since nobody will come to defend this budget. Because this august body having confirmed the board of NDDC, will not countenance any illegal contraption coming in front of us to say they are representing the NDDC.
“So, to prevent a delayed budget for the NDDC that is helping the region for development, it would be better for us to prevent this issue from coming and let the needful be done,” he said.
In his response, Mr Lawan urged the executive to “do the right thing” so that the right persons can come and defend the NDDC’s budget.
“As far as we are concerned, this Senate knows that we have confirmed the request of Mr President for the board membership of the NDDC and we have communicated that and the next logical thing to do by law is for the appointment of the members of the board to take immediate effect.
“I believe that the executive arm of government will attend to that quickly so that we have the right people to come and defend the Appropriation request of Mr President,” he said.
The 2018 budget for the commission was N346.5 billion with 2.88 billion as capital expenditure.