By Linda Ike
The House of Representatives Committee on National Population Commission has rejected the budget of the National Population Commission (NPC) for spending 1.9 billion on a national submit.
The committee said the report brought before it by the commission was not detailed, demanding that the commission must give a break down of how it spent 1.9 billion on a national summit.
This was during the budget defence session of the Commission by its Chairman, Nasir Isa Kwarra.on Wednesday in Abuja.
The Lawmakers also queried the commission on how it spent 118 million naira on designing a website , over 5 billion naira for mock census, and 23 million for welfare package.
The committee seek to know how the 23 million naira was spent on welfare package and the beneficiaries
It demanded that the Commission provide the expenditure pattern of the N5.2 billion spent on the mock census, detailing it state by state, requesting
details of the mock trial of the census.
The Committee headed by Hon Mohammed Lawan also rejected the 2023 budget proposal of the Commission for several discrepancies in the 2022 budget proposal it presented.
In their response, the Director of Census Evelyn Olanipekun stated that out of the 1.9 billion naira, over 129 million was expended on a one day summit organized at the presidential villa while 1.2 billion was used to organize summit in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The Director, Finance, Benjamin Fagbemi, of the Agency, who spoke on oath agreed with Olanikpekun on the sum spent on hosting the event at the Villa.
He said N1.2 billion was spent on the other meetings that were held across the country.
Explaining more to the questions raised by the committee, the Federal commissioner (NPC), Bala Banye who represented the chairman of the commission, Nasir Kwarra explained that though the commission had submitted a detailed report to the committee of how the monies where spent, stating that he would not be able to answer some questions concerning the funds verbally.
” We have furnished the committee with a detailed report of the monies that where spent so I will not be able to give a verbal answer to your questions” he said.
In view of the discrepancies in the presentation by the Commission, the Committee moved a motion that the Commission’s budget defence be suspended.
Hon Gboluga İkengboju in his motion said “In view of the discrepancies that have not been able to justify by the Commission, we can not consider their budget let them go back and sort themselves out – moved the motion which was adopted.
Meanwhile, Hon. Ifeanyi Momah amended the motion urging the National Population Commission and National Census to make available all documents in relation to the summit two days to the appearance before the committee.
The Commision was directed to come back next week Wednesday with more details.
“The 2022 budget performance cannot be accepted now. The commission must go back and provide more details. We cannot sit down here and speculate over numbers and tax payers money. I move that this meeting must be postponed and adjourned for them to tidy up their papers and figures so we spend less time when they come back. I so move,” Gboluga Ikengbogu, a member of the Committee, moved.
Similarly, the Committee rejected the 2023 budget proposal of the National Identity Management Commission for excluding its 2022 personnel budget expenditure from the documents it submitted.
Director General of NIMC, Engr Aliyu Aziz, who appeared before the Committee had said the personnel budget in 2022 was N5.8 billion.
This was as NIMC requested N13 billion for personnel in the proposal it submitted.
The Committee directed Aziz to come back next week Tuesday with detailed documentation of the Commission’s budget performance.
“In view of the non disclosure of the personnel budget of 2022 which is allegedly put at N5.8 with over over 3, 782 personnel, and also the 2023 which I am seeing here that has over 13 billion, which is a long gap, Mr Chairman I hereby move that NIMC should go and prepare a very exhaustible document that would detail the personnel budget of 2022, showing the nominal roll to see if the said personnel reflect Federal Character Principle,” Momah said.