From: Fred Itua, Abuja
Officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), on Thursday, shocked members of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), with a budget proposal of N355 million and N50 million for foreign trips and advertisements fir the agency in the 2018 fiscal year.
The committee chairman, Sen. Omotayo Alasoadura, vowed to drastically reduce the estimates when sending it for approval by the Senate.
The DPR Director, Mr. Mordecai Dantani Ladan Baba, had in his presentation of 2018 budget estimates of the agency, declared that under overhead votes of about N1.2 billion, the sum of N60.2 million had been proposed for local travels while foreign trips would gulp N355 million.
The committee chairman and other members immediately interjected him by asking why the figure for foreign trips was so high even compared to N180 million voted for it in the 2017 budget.
“This your proposed figure for foreign trips in the 2018 fiscal year is too high and must be drastically reduced before presenting it to the Senate for approval. Even the N60.2 million proposed for local trips in terms of monitoring is also on the high side and may also be reviewed downward,” the chairman said.
Other questionable sums the agency proposed under the overhead votes are: Advertisement N50 million, Courier services N19.1 million, Consulting services N102.3 million, recruitment N2.5 million, promotion N14.6 million, fueling and lubricant for generators N182 million, Utilities generally N92.8 million, among others.
Under capital, he disclosed to the committee that it had four ongoing projects already incorporated into the 2018 estimates and two new ones.
But the committee chairman observed that one of the ongoing projects already rolled over into 2018 was the renovation of DPR head office in Victoria Island, Lagos, which he said was turning into a reoccurring decimal in the agency’s yearly budgetary proposals.
Consequently, he asked the DPR Director to tell the committee when that particular project would be completed because according to him, such item must not appear in the agency’s budget proposal for 2019.
“You must finish this project latest by June next year as you have just pledged,” he said.
Sen. Alasoadura also tasked the agency to fast track execution of their project on upgrading of National Production Monitoring System to save Nigerians who were being cheated by petroleum marketers on daily basis.