Lawmakers Add N4bn to NDDC Budget

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Lawmakers Add N4bn to NDDC Budget

Post  nex on Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:15 pm

The National Assembly, yesterday, passed the 2010 budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission, adding N4bn to the requested sum and renaming the N90m earlier billed for “staff marriage”.

Lawmakers reviewed the spending plan of the regional commission from N236.5bn to N240.5bn, with over N3.99bn added to “developmental projects” at the regional office of the commission in Port Harcourt.

The additional amount for the office raised its total to N109.4bn for projects which will involve skill acquisition programmes and a renewed mass transit scheme.

The House NDDC committee would not state what the extra funds will be applied for, but indicated on the House paper as the eleventh item, named “additional revenue”. Funds allocated for such projects in each of the nine oil producing states, remained the same with the highest amount of N27.4bn, N22.99bn and N19.2bn, going to Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Delta states.

Lawmakers also rephrased the allocation of N90m to cater for staff marriages and funeral donations, two days after its earlier approval of the plan drew wide condemnations.

Staff welfare

The initial quotation which read “Death/Bereavement/Condolence purse/Transportation/Marriage” as part of personnel incentives, has been replaced with “staff welfare” as stated in the final document passed Thursday.

On Wednesday, before the budget proposal was referred to the committee, lawmakers complained of huge overhead cost detailed by the commission, and particularly condemned the planned use of N90m for marriage donations, when the commission faces unresolved developmental challenges in the oil region.

“Besides the timing of the budget, which shows the level of seriousness the commission attaches to the region, we should really consider the individual over head costs of this budget which are too high,” the House Business and Rules committee chairman, Ita Enang, noted Tuesday.

The change in name drew no response from the legislators as they rounded up considerations on key issues to commence a 12 week vacation ending October 12, 2010.
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