The Senate yesterday asked questions on the proprietary or otherwise of the sum of N800 million requested for purchase of security equipment by the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
The lawmakers’ questions were directed to NIWA Acting Managing Director, Danladi Ibrahim to answer, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Marine Transport to defend the Authority’s 2018 budget.
The committee was alerted when it found that the same N800m the Authority requested for in the 2018 budget for purchase of security equipment, is the same amount it received in 2017 budget for the same purpose.
It said that out of the N800 million, the Authority spent N790 million in 2017 which is over 90 per cent of the appropriated fund.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima observed that the Authority failed to provide details and specifications of how it planned to spend the money for which it requested for approval.
Yerima said: “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.”
A member of the committee, Senator Mohammed Hassan, said that Ibrahim and his team should be asked to go back and do the right thing.
“You are doing construction, the locations are not known. You have a project of N1.2billion 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 remaining balance,” he said.
Another member of the committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, frowned at the poor preparation of the budget document.
Utazi said: “Budget preparation is a professional job. It is a public document. Any body 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 acting MD, Ibrahim, however told the committee that the security equipment was not meant for one place alone.
He also said that the 2017 approval was the first time the Authority ever received fund for capital projects.
Meanwhile, the committee directed the Authority to go back and do the right thing as the committe chsirman, Senator Yerima said that the Authority should furnish the committee with necessary details and specification about every item in its budget.