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Budget defence: N2bn on furniture, zero allocation to Mambila hydro project raises concern

On Wednesday, the daily budget defence in the National Assembly continued with usual revelations and drama.

In the House of Representatives, DAILY POST reports that the Committees on Finance, Electoral matters and Power had a schedule as different Ministries, Departments and Agencies defended their budget estimates.

Committee on Electoral matters infighting:

Normally, fighting during committee meetings are between executive and judiciary, however, on Wednesday, it was between the Chairman of the Committee, Aisha Dukku and Solomon Bob from Rivers State. Bob had challenged the Chairperson for non-oversight activities by the committee.

“The committee did not carry out any oversight on the commission in the last one year, but here are we, being called upon to superintend over another budget,” Bob argued.

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However, the Chairperson used the gavel to rule him out of order.

Zainab Ahmed throwing Minister of power under the bus:

According to reports, the N100billion Mambila Hydroelectric power project did not get any allocation in the 2021 budget proposal. The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed said the Ministry of Power did not prioritize the project.

She disclosed that every committee has a budget ceiling, however, the Ministry did not prioritize the project and therefore did not include it in their budget.

“They are now expected to make their budget within that ceiling. The Ministry of Power didn’t have Mambilla in their submission. We do not provide programmes that go into budget for Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

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“The Ministries know what their priorities are, they are the ones to indicate. So if the Ministry of Power did not have Mambilla in their submission, it is because they did not provide it that‘s their responsibility”.

N2billion to buy furniture by NERC:

While Nigerians are struggling to get electricity in their homes, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is proposing to use N2billion to furnish and partition their office in Abuja.

The Chairman of the Commission, James Momoh had a hard time at the budget defence before the committee on power.

According to Momoh, the money will be used to furnish and partition the 8 storey building in Abuja.

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However, the Chairman of the Committee, Aliyu Magaji threatened that he will delete the item for the budget if details are not provided.

“If you don’t have the contract sum we will delete it from the budget. You have only one line item and you came unprepared. So you should go back and bring the total contract sum,” he said.

The budget defence process continues.

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