10 February 2016, Abuja – The Senate Committee on Gas Resources tuesday turned down a proposal of N200 million in the budget of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources for the preparation of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
The committee also rejected a request for appropriation of N200 million for the review of Nigeria Gas Master-plan, describing it as unnecessary.
While appearing before the committee to defend 2016 budget of the ministry, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Jamila Shuara, said the sum was required to prepare the budget and forward PIB to the National Assembly.
But the committee chaired by Senator Bassey Albert Akpan described the proposal as misplaced.
“This bill is already with the National Assembly. So what do we need the money for? I don’t think you need the money. This could be one of the reasons why we have so much deficit in this year’s budget. Unless you can justify this expenditure, we need to do away with this,” Akpan said.
The committee also turned down the ministry’s request for N200 million proposal in the budget for a review of the Nigerian Gas Master-plan, saying the budget had been a recurring figure in previous budgets. “You cannot be asking for funds to review what you have not even implemented,” Akpan added.
But Shuara argued that the country could not meet its gas requirement as a result of exigencies, saying the exigencies included $8 billion court judgement procured against the ministry by an unnamed investor.
Also yesterday, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul T. Borah (rtd.), protested against N26 billion allocated for the programme in 2016, saying the figure was scanty and could not meet the need of the group.
He said if the figure that is eventually approved, amnesty programme this year will be frustrated as he explained that the amount was far lower than N64 billion it originally proposed for the programme for 2016.
Borah who made this submission while defending the group’s budget, said the lean budget implied that a significant number of 30,000 ex-Niger Delta militants currently undergoing training overseas would be forced to withdraw.
He said: “In view of the foregoing, I urge you most sincerely to consider an upward review from the proposed N20 billion to N64,824,488,493.27 billion for the sustenance re-integration of ex-agitators in the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the 2016 fiscal year. Of the N63.06 billion appropriated for the amnesty programme in 2015, the sum of N63.02 billion was released.”
- This Day