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You Can’t Approve Ncc Budget, Senator Tells Finance Minister

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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SAN FRANCISCO, January 10, (THEWILL) – Vice chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West), has faulted the orders by Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other revenue generating agencies are to submit their budgets to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval.

The Federal Government had ordered the audit of all revenue generating agencies in the country in order to ensure that all funds collected were remitted into its coffers.

Adeosun, who briefed State House Correspondents after the first Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting this year, revealed that the relevant agencies had been mandated to present their budgets for approval.

But reacting to the minister’s directive, Adeola revealed that under the NCC Act, only the National Assembly was empowered to consider and approve the budget of the NCC.

He stressed that any attempt by the Executive to approve the budget of the commission was not only illegal but also an encroachment on the function and power of the Legislature.

“I am surprise that the minister was quoted as including NCC among other agencies it would require to submit budgets for her and other supervising ministers to approve,” Adeola said, in a statement signed by his media adviser, Kayode Odunaro.

“As well intentioned as this may seem in the effort to generate revenue and block leakages, it is a flagrant contravention of the NCC Act as well as usurping the power of the National Assembly to approve the budget of NCC.”

The vice chairman referred the minister to Sections 17-21 of the NCC Act that dwells on the financial provisions for NCC adding that the proposal of the minister to vet the income and expenditure of NCC was a breach of Section 25(2) of the Act.

According to Adeola, the only fund NCC is mandated to pay to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation is “All monies accruing from the sale of spectrum” as contained in Section 17(3) of the Act.

While asserting that NCC is a semi-autonomous Commission, the senator declared that the finance minister only comes in if the NCC wants to borrow money, explaining that Section 25(2) of the Act forbids the supervising minister from undue interference.

Story by David Oputah