THE House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications on Thursday rejected the 2017 budget of the Ministry of Communication presented to it by its Minister, Mr Adebayo Shittu who was grilled for several hours on the activities of the Ministry
The Committee Chaired by Hon Saheed Akinade-Fijabi queried the Minister how the Ministry came about two versions of the 2017 budget as was the case last year.
The Chairman of the Committee was quoted saying, “Hon Minister, the 2017 budget document you just presented before this Committee is different from that presented to the National Assembly by President.”
“At any rate, the Committee will only work with original version presented to us by Mr President, the same thing came to play during the last year’s budget presentation and defence.”
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Sunny Echono however admitted that the Ministry had also discovered that the budget contained typographic errors especially on the pages 43 and 44 of the documents. The ministry had written to the budget office an official letter dated February this year on the development.
On the claim by the Minister and the Permanent Secretary that the Ministry had submitted the relevant documents that concerned the Committee to its Secretariat and other documents to other similar Committees of the House and the Senate, the Committee frowned at this, saying that it is wrong for the Ministry to be trying to discriminate against the Committees, as all of them were the same
The Committee members pointed out that all the Committees were one, which “are at liberty to request for the submission of any document or information before it at any point in time”
The Committee then directed the Ministry to comply with its earlier directive to submit all relevant documents pertaining to the budget performance of the 2016 to facilitate its work on the 2017 budget
The Minister who had earlier read the 2017 budget of over N6billion for Capital projects pleaded for kind consideration and approval of the Budget as well to ensure prompt releases of the approved budget to enhance efficiency in the Ministry.
The Committee had on Tuesday given the minister up till 10:00a.m. Wednesday to appear before it to defend the Ministry’s budget, on failure threatened the Ministry with Zero allocation in this financial year