Fashola in big trouble as senate condemns Power Ministry’s budget, insists on minister’s appearance
The Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy on Monday condemned the 2018 budget proposal of the Ministry of Power over irregularities in the estimates.
Some of the issues raised against the budget include repetition of votes earlier approved in the 2017 budget, repetition of estimates already defended by the Transmission Company of Nigeria, lack of details on releases and expenditures, as well as cost of contracts, their level of execution and balance for their completion.
The committee asked the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) to appear before it at a new date for the budget defence, while asking the Ministry of Power to provide all the details they requested.
A member of the committee, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, who was displeased by the presentations by the Minister of State for Power, Mr. Mustapha Baba Shehuri; and the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Loius Edozion, urged other members to discontinue the budget defence and asked the ministry to provide more detailed documents.
He said, “First and foremost, if you look at this budget, from the first item line to the last, there are several questions to be raised on each.
“If we had taken what the vice chairman said earlier and we had looked at this budget, we would have seen that it was vague and ambiguous.
“You are talking about liabilities; we should know as of 2017 what they are, how much has been paid and what is the balance. That is the way to make it easier and that goes for other projects here.
“With what we are seeing here, as far as I am concerned, you are not prepared.
“Looking at this budget also, most of the things there are replicated in TCN’s budget. I don’t even know which budget we are considering.”
Chairman of the committee, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, first asked officials of the ministry to admit that their budgetary performance in 2017 was “abysmal.”
“So, you’ll take it that 2017 performance was abysmally low at 18 per cent. If we take it, then we can go to 2018 (budget proposal),” he said.Punch