Fred Itua, Abuja
Senators, yesterday, queried the sum of N800 million budgeted for the purchase of security equipment by the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). The lawmakers’ position was handed down to NIWA Acting Managing Director, Danladi Ibrahim, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Marine Transport to defend the agency’s 2018 budget.
The panel questioned why the agency requested for N800 million in the 2018 budget for the purchase of security equipment, which was with the same amount it received in the 2017 budget for the same purpose.
The committee noted that out of the N800 million, the agency had spent N790 million in 2017, which amounts to over 90 per cent of the appropriated sum.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima, noted that the agency failed to provide details and specifications of how it plans to spend the money it requested for in the 2018 budget.
Yerima noted: “You said you want to do something; the same amount last year, the same amount this year. There are no details, no explanations, no form of specification whatsoever. This is unacceptable.”
Another member of the committee, Senator Mohammed Hassan, said Ibrahim and his team should be asked to go back and do the right thing.
He said: “You are doing construction, the locations are not known. You have a project of N1.2 billion which you requested for in 2017, you have received over 90 per cent, you requested for the same amount in 2018. The right thing should have been for you to request for the balance.”
Another member of the committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, frowned at the poor preparation of the budget document. He said, “budget preparation is a professional job. It is a public document. Anybody who looks at what you have prepared will not know your intention. It is only what you have presented that will be considered, not your intention. If you don’t know how to do it, you bring in consultants. If you go to other West African countries, things are done properly. When you come to Nigeria, things change. It is unacceptable.”
NIWA boss told the committee that the security equipment is not meant for one place alone. He also said the 2017 approval was the first time the authority was receiving fund for capital projects. The committee, thereafter, asked the representatives of the agency to go back and do the right thing.
Yerima said the agency should furnish the committee with necessary details and specifications about every item in its budget.