Reps reject N90m for weddings, others in NDDC budget

THE GUARDIAN Newspaper- Azimazi Momoh

THE House of Representatives yesterday rejected the provision of N90 million to fund marriage ceremonies and other social activities of members of staff of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The provision, which was the 34th item in the N236.58 billion NDDC 2010 budget attracted serious condemnation from lawmakers during the debate on the general principles of the commission’s 2010 budget bill.
The lawmakers argued that it would be very wrong to okay the proposal at a time when the people of the Niger Delta area are wallowing in abject poverty.
Sa’adatu Sani (PDP) Kaduna State, who raised the issue, lamented that the commission had not performed to the expectations of Nigerians since it was established in 2000.
A breakdown of the capital projects of the budget showed that a whooping sum of N84 million is voted for the purchase of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), N91 million for the purchase of Saloon cars while Project vehicles (make not specified) had N125 million budgeted for it.
In the same Capital Project, a whooping sum of N57 million was budgeted for purchase of vehicles.
However, the N236.5 billion budget proposal scaled through the mandatory second reading on the floor of the House, preparatory for it final passage into law.
Leading debate on the general principles of the budget, the House Leader, Tunde Akogun said the sum made up of N5,860,254,846 is for personnel cost while the sum of N6,964,477,682 is for overhead cost and N1,730,000,000 is for capital expenditure while the balance of N222,032,575,123.39 is for development projects expenditure.
He explained that the 2010 budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was “a developmental stride building” on the completion of major projects of 2009 budget, adding that the thrust of the budget is on human capital development which seeks to address issues of employment generation as a major step towards engaging the vibrant youths of the area.
“The budget identifies the need to complete a backlog of projects awarded as far back as 2002, it therefore proposes to complete outstanding projects so as to effectively capture the essence of the commission’s interventions.
“It is also worthy to note that the commission’s budget keys into the Presidential Initiative on Post Amnesty Era by providing critical infrastructure towards advancing the programme.”


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