Senators yesterday said they discovered N16billion ‘frivolous’ items in the power wing of the ministry of Power, Works and Housing under the supervision of Babatunde Raji Fashola.
This was revealed when the Minister of State for Power, Mustapha Baba Shehuri appeared before the Senate Committee on Power.
Senator Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi) drew the attention of his colleagues to the items saying, two budget items amounting to N16bn appeared in both the power ministry and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
An analysis of the main budget of the power ministry showed that N4bn was allocated for Kashimbilla transmission on page 47 and N12bn for counterpart funding for transmission lines and substation projects on page 48.
He said “The N4bn and 12bn appeared on TCN budget when they came to defend their budget. Why are you presenting the same now? The figure is misleading.”
Responding, the minister said it was the same budget but Abaribe interjected saying, “No minister, the figures are separate. We have the budget of TCN.”
Vice Chairman of the committee, Bukar Mustapha (APC, Katsina) said: “What Aliero mentioned is truly worrisome. Kashimbilla budget has nothing do to with the ministry. There are many, this has been the problem of the power sector…”
The Senators also raised issues on budgetary provisions for the purchase of vehicles that appeared in three places amounting to N768million.
Not satisfied by the minister’s response, Abaribe adjourned sitting and said a comprehensive list of the issues raised would be sent to the ministry ahead of a new date.