Home Finance Senate berates NEITI for spending N960m as personnel cost in 2022 budget for 43 staff

Senate berates NEITI for spending N960m as personnel cost in 2022 budget for 43 staff

by Business News Report

Senate has kicked against the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI’ s N960 million personnel cost in 2022 budget for 43 staff. Senate queried the expenditure when the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya  appeared before the Senator Matthew Urhoghide, led Senate Committee to  present his 2023 Budget for the first time. Trouble started when Ogbonnaya in his presentation before the Committee,  read the 2022 budget performance, explaining that  the Personnel Cost of the agency was N960 million while overhead cost stood at N760.9 million and the Capital budget was N344 million.

Speaking further, the Executive Secretary of NEITI said that  51 per cent of personnel cost has been spent while 58 per cent of overhead cost was  spent and only 50 per cent of capital has been released so far. Not comfortable with his explanations, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Urhoghide wondered how the agency could spend only 51 per cent of his personnel cost as at November 2022, stressing that  this was  the case of over bloated Personnel Cost in the agency. Urhoghide said “you have only taken 51 per cent of your personnel cost at November, your personnel cost is really really too high,  you have only two months and  you have just collected 51 per cent of your personnel cost. This is one case of personnel budget over bloated, what we are dating is that it is systemic leakage. We are going to reduce your personnel cost to less than N500 million.”

Responding, the Executive Secretary explained that when the agency started operations, it was only on Oil and Gas, but now , the agency has moved into Solid Minerals and it needed  more manpower to carry our its operations. According to Ogbonnaya, the agency currently has 43 staff, just as he said that NEITI had approval to recruit more staff as this was made available in the 2022 budget and the process has just been concluded, adding  that the newly recruited 70 staff were  already captured by IPPIS and have not been paid. However, Senator Ibrahim Danbaba asked the Executive Secretary of NEITI to submit the nominal role of the agency to ascertain what he told the law makers.

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