By Ahuraka Isah and Solomon Ayado, Abuja
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) officials, yesterday, disclosed to members of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), that they intend to spend N355 million for foreign trips in the 2018 fiscal year.
The committee chairman, Senator Tayo Alasoadura (APC Ondo Central), however said the figure is unacceptable to the committee and indeed the senate and as such shall drastically reduce the estimates when sending it for the senate approval.
The DPR director, Mr Mordecai Dantani Ladan Baba had in his presentation of 2018 budget estimates of the petroleum agency , declared that under overhead votes of about N1.2billion , the sum of N60.2million have been proposed for local travels while foreign trips would gulp N355million.
Spontaneously the committee chairman and other members interjected him by asking why the figure for foreign trips was so high even compared to N180million voted for it in the 2017 budget.
“This your proposed figure for foreign trips in the 2018 fiscal year is too high and must be drastically reduced before presenting it to the senate for approval.
“Even the N60.2 million proposed for local trips in terms of monitoring is also on the high side and may also be reviewed downward,” said the committee chairman.
Other bogus sums the agency proposed under the overhead votes are; Advertisement, N50 million; Courier services, N19.1 million; Consulting services, N102.3 million.
Others are Recruitment N2.5 million; Promotion N14.6 million; Fueling and lubricant for generators N182 million; Utilities generally, N92.8 million, etc.
Under capital expenditure the DPR disclosed to the committee that it had four ongoing projects already incorporated into the 2018 estimates and two new ones .
But the committee chairman observed that one of the ongoing projects already rolled over into 2018 is the renovation of DPR head office in Victoria Island Lagos which he said is turning into a reoccurring decimal in the agency’s yearly budget proposal.
Consequently , he asked the DPR director to tell the committee when that particular project would be completed because according to him, such an item must not appear in the agency’s budget proposal for 2019.
“ You must finish this project latest by June next year as you have just pledged,” he said.
Alasoadura also impressed it on the agency to fast track execution of their project on upgrading of National Production Monitoring System to save Nigerians who are being cheated by petroleum marketers.