The House of Representatives has passed the 2019 Appropriation bill of N346.388 billion for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), for its 2019 operations.
This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a report on the bill by the NDDC Chairman, Rep. Olubumi Tunji-Ojo (APC-Ondo), at the Committee on Supply, on Wednesday in Abuja.
The House approved an overhead expenditure of N13.4 billion, N4.08 billion for internal capital expenditure and N306.6 billion for development projects.
Addressing journalists after the passage of the bill, Tunji-Ojo said that the implementation of the budget was expected to end by May 31, as the house commenced the process to approve the 2020 budget for the commission.
He explained that in the past, the NDDC had been running its budget in arrears, but the 9th House of Representatives insisted things must be done properly.
Tunji -Ojo said that the house insisted that the 2019 and 2020 budgets be submitted to the house, which was done late last year.
The Rep. said that the house must pass the 2019 Budget before that of 2020 in line with legislative best practices.
“We are starting work immediately on the 2020 Budget and in no time, may be by next month, we should have gone far enough to pass it on or before May 2020.
“It is our desire that by June, the NDDC should have started running a normal budget circle again,” he said.
Tunji-Ojo assured that the house will ensure proper implementation of the budget even though the commission has a good track record for budget implementation.
He noted that the 2018 NDDC budget had an implementation rate of 98 per cent.
The chairman said that in spite of NDDC’s track record on efficient budget implementation however, the committee would take its oversight function seriously.
According to the lawmaker, the committee would ensure the quality of work done meets international standards; adding the Niger Delta region is very important to the country.
“This is the house of the people, that is why we are here; we stand for nothing but the interest of the people and it is our desire that every kobo (penny) of the Niger Delta is used for the people of the region.
“You can be sure that under my chairmanship, we will not shy away from that responsibility, and we hope that by this time next year, we will not be talking about this,” Tunji-Ojo said.