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Comms. Minister, Shittu fails to present tidy performance note on 2017 budget

For the second time, the Ministry of Communications, Barr Adebayo Shittu has been asked to go back and rework his ministry’s 2018 budget estimates for representation at the floor of the House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications.

Exactly the same scenario of shoddy documentation played out during the defence of 2017 budget.

Proceedings during the failed budget presentation on Tuesday, failed on a number of grounds including inefficiency in the preparation of the documents on the Ministry’s 2017 Budget performance and 2018 budget proposal.

The committee, which was on an oversight visit to the Ministry  in Abuja declined further discussions on the presentation after some of its members discovered many irregularities in figures quoted in the scanty documents meant to explain the performance of last year’s budget as well as the 2018 budgetary projections.

First error was observed by a member of the Committee, Anayo Edward, who faulted Shittu’s claim that the 2018 revenue projection of N1.3bn doubled the revenue projection in the preceding year, N600m.

He reacted to the claims of the Minister who said “It is projected that revenue generation from sale of forms, spectrum licenses and renewal fees and other sources in 2018 would rise to about N1.3bn, twice the size of last year because of the envisaged installation of Radio Monitoring Equipment.”

Besides, another member, Abiodun Awoleye, pointed out lack of correlation in figures on pages of a document served members while he also criticised non-clarity of some of the figures quoted.

Awoleye was followed in same stream by Hon. Kehinde Odeneye who queried the ministry for not stating the status of the Rural Telephone Project for which money was appropriated in last year’s budget, adding that the minister did not specify where the projects were located and if they were functional.

Two other members were not comfortable with irregularities in figures quoted on pages of another document presented, and as such, asked the Chairman to discontinue the presentation because it was against parliamentary procedure to work on an incorrect or uncompleted document, saying that doing so would be efforts in futility.

Noticing that his preparations were shoddy and unpresentable, Shittu openly became weak, saying “I want to apologise on behalf of the Ministry. I want to take full responsibility for these mistakes and want to assure you that we will put our house in order”.

“I want to assure you that before the end of this week, we must have made necessary corrections and present a correct document to the office of the Committee chairman”, the Minister vowed.