House of Reps stops NAFDAC’s N18.9bn budget

The House of Representatives on Tuesday stopped the consideration of the 2017 budget of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.

The budget of N18.9bn had earlier passed first and second readings before the House referred it to the Committee on Healthcare Services for NAFDAC to defend the proposals before the committee would report back to the plenary for approval.

However, when the report was due for consideration on Tuesday it turned out that the Chairman of the Committee on Healthcare Services, Mr. Chike Okafor, was unavailable.

Besides, the budget, which was listed against Okafor’s name, lacked details.

In Okafor’s absence, the Deputy Chairman of the committee, Mr. Mohammed Usman, moved for the consideration of the budget.

But, as members settled down, the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, immediately observed that there were no details of the proposals.

“What is worth doing is worth doing well.

“This is not how we handle budgets in the House. There have to be details attached. Without the details, we can’t proceed,” the Speaker said.

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Usman, reading the document Okafor prepared, merely gave the block figures of the budget.

The overheads from Federal Government’ appropriation in the budget is N7.5bn; while the overheads proposal from Internally Generated Revenue and other sources is N8.2bn.

The personnel cost is N4.4bn.

For capital proposals, N164.3m is from the Federal Government, while another N6.1bn is from IGR, bringing the overall amount to N18.9bn.

However, the House declined to approve the block votes as members insisted that the committee must submit the details of all the expenditure heads.

“There is nothing to consider here.

“In the absence of the details, we will step the budget down till the proper thing is done,” Dogara said.

Meanwhile, the House on Tuesday, asked security agencies to engage experts while destroying illegal refineries in the Niger Delta.

It noted that the destruction of the refineries had led to additional environmental problems in the oil region because the army and other security agencies that carried out the exercise did not do it professionally.

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A member from Akwa Ibom State, Mrs. Owoidighe Ekpoattai, who moved a motion on the matter, informed lawmakers that at least 280 illegal refineries and barges had been destroyed since 2016.

She added that while the efforts of the security agencies to curb economic sabotage by the illegal refiners were commendable, they must also consider the safety of the people of the area and the effects on the environment.

To address the problem, the House recommended that experts should be engaged by security agencies to destroy the refineries.

The House resolved to “mandate the Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream); Petroleum Resources (Downstream); Environment and Habitat; Army; Navy; Interior; Niger Delta; and Legislative Compliance to interface with relevant security agencies to ensure that officials of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies are involved in the process of destroying illegal refineries.

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