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NASS defers NIWA’s budget defence over irregular financial report

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Abiola Seun

The National Assembly joint panel on Marine Transport, Ports, Harbours/ Inland Waterways yesterday defered the budget defence of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) over inconsistency in the agency’s budget report.

However, NIWA’s Managing Director, Dr George Moghalu, has threatened to opt-out from the National budget in 2023.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja when he appeared before the  National Assembly Joint Committee on Marine Transport, Ports, Harbours/ Inland Waterways while presenting the 2022 budget proposals, the  Managing Director of NIWA, Dr George Moghalu said that the agency is determined to become fully self-funding by 2023 upon the passage of NIWA Bill.

According to him, “the Authority is determined more than ever to become fully self-funding by 2023 predicated upon the passage of the NIWA bill, in so doing upscaling development of Inland Water Transportation in Nigeria.”

The Managing Director who told the lawmakers that the autonomy by NIWA will not take the power of oversight from the lawmakers said that the aim of the autonomy is not to burden the national budget.

In the breakdown presented by NIWA Managing Director for the 2022 budget proposal, N12.8 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.

Trouble however started for the Managing Director of NIWA as many Senators and House of Representatives members complained about the clumsiness of the report presented for consideration.

Senator Smart Adeyemi specifically told the NIWA Managing Director that the report is not presented in a way that could be easily understood.

Another Senator from Jigawa, Senator Danladi Sankara said that the agency failed to include receipt of remittance in their report, though Senator Jibrin Isah 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.

Other  Lawmakers also complained that the report was not arranged properly.

At the end of the day, the Chairman, Senator Danjuma Goje who called for the postponement of the budget defence over the issues raised by members, said that in view of various inconsistencies in the budget, “you have to reappear before the Committee at another date which will be communicated to you”.

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