The National Inland Waterways Authority ( NIWA), is to exit the National budget in the 2023 fiscal year saidState congress: Akala to meet Oyo APC .
But the joint committee of both the Senate and the House of Representatives on Marine Transport, rejected the 2022 budget proposals presented by NIWA’s MD on alleged disjointed figures.
In his presentation before the joint committee, Thursday, at the Senate wing of the National Assembly, the NIWA boss said the agency is determined to become fully self funding by 2023 upon the passage of NIWA bill.
The Authority he declared, is determined more than ever to become fully self funding by 2023 predicated upon the passage of the NIWA bill, geared towards upscaling development of Inland Water Transportation in Nigeria and economic viability of the agency.
“We are now poised to opting out of the Recurrent Allocation (comprising both Overhead and Personnel costs) effective from the 2022 Budget, with a view to becoming fully autonomous by 2023.
“Consequently, the Authority in its Year 2022 Proposal accorded priority to the completion of all on-going projects especially those that align with the new policy objectives of Government’s Medium Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2021-2025 and Nigeria Agenda 2050”, he said.
He however added that exiting the national budget did not in any way remove the regulatory authority of agencies of government.
“Our exiting the national budget does not in any way remove the regulatory authority of agencies of government and even the national assembly oversight functions.
“We can’t stop the national assembly from exercising its oversight functions, we can’t stop the auditor-general’s office from coming to audit us. We can’t, statutorily speaking, do any expenditure outside the budget as approved by the national assembly”, he stressed.
On the 2022 budget breakdown, the NIWA boss said N 12.8 billion is subvention for Capital budget from the federal government, the total IGR budget proposal is N21.2 billion made up of recurrent estimate of N10.8 billion .
He however ran into trouble based on the presentation as the Chairman of the Committee , Senator Danjuma Gone ( APC Gombe Central) and many members of the committee , alleged clumsiness in his presentation.
Senator Smart Adeyemi ( APC Kogi West), specifically told the NIWA Managing Director that the report is not presented in a way that could be easily understood.
“I can’t understand where you present a total overhead of an agency as zero. I have never seen a budgeting system where you have zero overhead.
“I think there is what is called Consolidated Revenue Account where agencies are supposed to remit proceeds.
“If we continue giving autonomy to agencies, you will discover they will spend everything and give you zero.
“If you want Nigeria to move forward, let us do things the way it should be done. Let there be checks and balances,” he said.
Another member of the committee, Senator Danladi Sankara ( APC Jigawa North West) ,said that the agency failed to include receipt of remittance in their report, though Senator Jibiril Isa who is the Vice Chairman of Senate Committee on Finance, informed the Committee that NIWA submitted the remittance receipt to government’s purse to Finance Committee.
On her part, Sen. Abiodun Olujimi (PDP-Ekiti South) said “we are glad you exited 2021 overhead cost. But you are now asking to exit personnel cost. That is very dangerous for you.
“This is because there is no way government will add a penny on an MDA that is fully autonomous.
“We cannot allow you exit everything; you must still be part of the government, because exiting means you are now on your own; and being on your is very dangerous”.
Having listen to the members of the Committee both in Senate and House of Representatives, the Chairman, Senator Danjuma Goje called for the postponement of the budget defence over the issue raised by members.
“In view of various inconsistencies in the budget , you have to reappear before the Committee and on another date which will be communicated to you’, he said.