Senate passes NDDC 2016 budget of N241bn

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Nigerian Senate on Thursday passed the 2016 Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Budget of =N=241 billion. The budget, which has a shortfall of =N=19 billion from the =N=260 billion proposed by the executive arm, was passed during the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on NDDC at plenary.

Senators, who contributed during clause by clause consideration of the document, expressed their support for the budget in view of the urgent need to develop the Niger Delta and end the persistent agitation in the region.

Presenting the report, the Chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, said President Muhammadu Buhari presented a Budget proposal of =N=260 billion for the 2016 fiscal year, explaining that the proposal was reduced to make its  implementation more realistic.

According to him, “the expenditure included, Personnel, =N=18b, Overhead, =N=10b, Internal Capital, =N=1b and development Project, =N=231b. He further said that the revenue sources for the budget included revenue brought forward of =N=10b, Federal Government contribution of =N=110b.

Senator Nwaoboshi noted that other revenue sources included oil companies’ contributions and others, amounting to =N=130b, ecological funds of =N=10b and other internally generated income of =N=100m.

Also at the plenary on Thursday, the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun Establishment Bill, 2016 scaled through the third reading and was passed by the Senate. The passage of the Bill followed consideration of the report of Senate committee on tertiary institutions and TETFUND which sought to upgrade the Petroleum Training Institute Effurun, and Establish the University.

Senate President Bukola Saraki used the occasion to emphasise the need for more local content and improved technology that would boost the petroleum industry in Nigeria. Thereafter, the Senate adjourned to July 12.

Backing Mr. President

In another development, Senators of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party under the aegis of the APC and Labour caucus said they are fully in support of the policies and actions of President Muhammadu Buhari.

This is coming in reaction to the position of the minority opposition Peoples Democratic Party  (PDP) senate caucus which said it has withdrawn its cooperation and support of the All Progressive Congress (APC) led Federal government.

Addressing Journalists after Thursday’s plenary, the Senate Chief whip Senator Olusola Adeyeye said they will continue to back all policies and actions of the Nigerian President, urging the PDP Senators to show more love to the country than their party’s interest for the good of all Nigerians.

“Contrary to the assertion of our PDP colleagues, the investigation is not a partisan war against a particular political party. It is no longer a news item that there was a wanton diversion of public funds meant for fighting insurgency to fund campaigns of PDP.  Members of the PDP were the sole and iniquitous beneficiaries of this diversion.

Seeking to recover diverted public funds is neither dictatorial nor against the rule of law. In all the actions, programmes and policies of the PMB-led APC Federal Government, no PDP member has been unjustly arrested or imprisoned on mere allegations.

On the contrary, we are daily regaled with news of millions and billions of naira of public funds traced to accounts of individuals some of whom have accepted to return such diverted public funds.

As law abiding and patriotic citizens, we cherish the rule of law and the separation of powers among the different arms of government. Political interference based on partisan consideration must be eschewed”

The law makers who described the decision of the PDP as shocking, noted that nobody has been unjustly imprisoned or arraigned, adding that it wants the rule of law to prevail.

The Members of the Joint Caucus of The All Progressive Congress (APC) and Labour Party Senators in the Senate are stoutly behind the policies and programmes of the President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration. Our support is aimed at actualizing the promised desiredchange that Nigerians voted for last year.

“We are shocked at the totally partisan reaction of our colleagues from the minority party, PDP, to the on-going investigations and recovery of public funds meant for the prosecution of the war against insurgency. The senators also pleaded with their PDP colleagues to rise above partisan politics and support the government in bringing the need change.

Members of the joint caucus of the APC and Labour Party will always give their best in support of the only President Nigeria has. We plead with our PDP colleagues to rise above partisan inclinations so that together, we all can bring to fruition the positive changes that our people seek and deserve.”

Nnenna.O