2017 Budget: Ministry of Communications’ Budget Rejected
The Ministry of Communications has had its N6.77 billion 2017 Budget rejected by the House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications.
The rejection was due to the ministry’s inability to provide enough details especially about the 2016 budget.The rejection followed the ministry’s failure to provide satisfactory details of the 2016 budget expenditure.
In the rejected budget, the ministry proposed to spend N5.96 billion for capital projects, N742.88 million on personnel costs, and N216.88 million would cover overhead costs.
Saheed Fijabi, the chairman of the Committee, asked the Minister, Adebayo Shittu, to provide documents on projects, project locations, third party contracts, and receipt vouchers for conferences, training and nominal roll for the ministry.
The committee said it would only consider the proposal after a careful assessment of all the projects proposed in the details.
The minister, who appeared before the committee, was unable to explain the details of the budget.
He said that Sunday Echono, the permanent secretary, who is the accounting officer of the ministry, was in the best position to respond to the specifics of the document.
The lawmakers, who were shocked about the finances of the ministry, requested for explanations on the disbursement of funds.
Other red flags such as the N8million spent on a presentation at the Federal Executive Council meeting, the N12 million spent on procuring computers and the discrepancy between the real personnel costs and the money appropriated for it.
“With the document before us, there is a need for this committee to oversight these projects because Nigerians have been blaming the legislature for not doing its job well,” Fijabi said.
“Going forward, we have to look at the procurement process and on-the-spot assessment of these projects has become inevitable.
“In addition, the ministry should furnish the committee with its nominal roll, indicating old and new workers. The provision of the details requested will determine how soon we will embark on the oversight visit and the consideration of the ministry’s 2017 budget estimates.”