Lawmakers query NOSDRA over misapplication of funds

Nigeria House of Representatives.

Nigeria House of Representatives.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

12 March 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja –
The House of Representatives Committee on Environment, on Wednesday, queried the Director-General of the National Oil Spill and Detection Agency, NOSDRA, over misappropriation of the 2014 budget.

The committee described the spending as gross violation of the budgetary provisions and ordered the director general to have a fresh budget defence.

Chairman of the House Committee, Hon. Uche Ekwunife, who was reacting to the presentation when the manager of the NOSDRA appeared to defend the 2015 budget, expressed displeasure at certain expenditures by the agency, even as she stated that the presentation was unsatisfactory.

She described the agency’s budget as a prototype budget, lambasting the agency for presenting a document that has the same item and amount as sub-heads in a three-year budget cycle.

The lawmaker further stated that what was presented in the budget document clearly showed that the 2014 budget was not implemented by the agency.

She also questioned the rationale behind the N4 million stated by the agency as internally generated revenue projection, saying that it was insufficient for a serious-minded government agency like NOSDRA that is implementing government’s policy in the oil sector. The committee also queried the agency’s 2012, 2013 and 2014 budgets, saying whatever the agency spent must be appropriated for in its budget.

A member of the committee, Sekonte Davies (APC Rivers) said he found it difficult to understand why “releases were made quarterly, but you distribute your expenditure sub-heads evenly.”

Members argued that all the figures were the same everywhere. “I want to align myself with the previous speakers that the agency go and re-work the budget,” he stated.

The Director-General of the agency, Mr Peter Bagio, while responding to the queries raised by members, pleaded with the committee to give him more time.

He noted that he was not given sufficient time to prepare the 2015 budget.

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