05 March 2014, Abuja – The Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Dr. Oluwole Oluleye, said on Wednesday that the agency had spent N15bn to develop the Kaduna Institute of Petroleum, Strategy and Policy Studies.
Oluyele stated this while defending the 2014 budget of his agency before the National Assembly Joint Committee on Petroleum (Upstream).
The DG also denied an additional variation of N4bn of the original project cost of the agency’s headquarters building in Abuja.
He explained that although there was an earlier plan for variation of the agency’s headquarters N4bn project, but noted that the proposal was later dropped.
Oluleye said, “When we met the contractors, initially there was additional works which we arrived at and was approved but later I sticked to the original contract and said what I want is to keep to the original contract, finish the building as it was designed.
“So we did not take it to the Federal Executive Council . We had to step it down. So the N4bn does not exist any more. So we are sticking to the original contract.
“So the payments we have made were based on the certified valuation certificates that had been on ground since 2012 because the certificates were not paid for that was why they moved out of site.
“So when we paid that, they came back to site. Our agreement with them was that as soon as they finish we will be ale to pay them. But again, I just needed to get them back to site.”
Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, advised the committee not to embark on the construction of six zonal offices across the country in view of the financial position of the agency.
He also cautioned the PTDF boss against increasing its endowment fund from N1billion to N2bn in 2014.
Paulker said, “I know that there is need for us to open zonal offices but I will advice strongly that under the present circumstances you find yourself, it is not advisable for us to put this into your budget.
“Well, from what you are saying maybe you envisage that you will have this money from other sources.
“I will advise that you put more efforts in your headquarter building so that you furnish it and give out some areas that you intend to give out so can earn some revenue.
“Added to that is the funding of the endowment chair which is good. But is it proper at this point you find yourself to increase the endowment fund. Why not maintain the status quo?
“Yes, you are talking about research, it is good that our universities should be involved in research programmes. You have given them annual oil and gas research grant.
“I think rather than give the endowment chair this privilege, I would rather prefer the oil and gas grant while you specifically give to an academician who comes up with a result which is useful to the industry.
“So instead of increasing from N1bn to N2bn, I will advise that under the present circumstances you maintain the status quo of N1bn.”
On complaints that the agency would not be able to pay monies due to Nigerian students on scholarship abroad, Paulker said it would be an embarrassment to the country if the PTDF defaults in its commitment to the students on the agency’s scholarship abroad.