NNPC must submit budget next week, N’Assembly insists

Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Magnus Abe
The National Assembly Joint Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) has restated its request that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation must submit its budget proposals on 2013 operations for scrutiny on Tuesday next week (December 18).
Notwithstanding NNPC’s initial protest to the contrary, the committee insisted that the corporation’s budget, especially on aspects having to do with the running of the refineries, must be submitted to the National Assembly for scrutiny.
During a budget hearing of the corporation two weeks ago, officials of the corporation had failed to present their corporation’s operational budget, arguing that there was no law requiring them to present budget estimates of the NNPC to the National Assembly.
Chief Strategist for the corporation, Chief Tim Okon, had claimed that NNPC normally made its subsidiary operations’ budget estimates available to the President, after being approved by the NNPC board, as required by the enabling law of the corporation.
But members of the committee rejected Okon’s submissions, threatening that it would raise proper sanctions if the corporation went ahead with expenditure not approved by the National Assembly.

The committee held that the NNPC Act was far inferior to the relevant sections of the Constitution, which empowered the National Assembly to appropriate funds for federal agencies.
Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Magnus Abe, told our correspondent on Sunday in an interview on the telephone, that NNPC had agreed to make the budget available on Tuesday, December 18.
He said, “We have agreed to meet on the 18th. That is what we have agreed. It is left for them to make the budget available to us. They should not continue to give the public the impression that there is something to hide. So, we expect them to return to the committee. There is no reason for us to believe that they will not come.”

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