By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora yesterday knocked the National Commission for Mass Literacy for not executing projects captured in its 2019 budget, instead, preferred to leave the funds in the treasury.
The development played out at the budget defence exercise of the Committee with the Commission.
Unlike many other agencies of government that suffered from meagre financial flows, the Literacy Commission got a good percentage of its allocation in the passing fiscal year released but ‘chose’ to keep the funds sitting idle in the coffers.
With two months to the end of the fiscal year, the Commission is back to the Parliament asking for more money for 2020.
For instance, to execute its projects which were mainly training programmes in 2019, the Committee budgeted N900 million.
By the end of September, 2019, it got a release of N220 million but to the chagrin of the House Committee, it has only spent N8 million and yet, asking for N1.1 billion in the 2020 budget.
Showing their displeasure with the development, the Committee Chairperson, Hon. Tolu Akande Shadipe said that the Commission failed to deliver on its mandate as expected in the fiscal year.
She said that the unspent allocation meant that the Commission shelved many people-oriented programmes it was supposed to execute on behalf of government.
Shadipe who particularly recalled the sacrificing of a certain Diaspora’s programme by the Commission for other ‘crucial’ projects couldn’t not relate it with the non execution of the projects.
She queried the internal process of procurement in the Commission, saying that something was wrong.
She said: “For better efficiency, something needs to be done. There are issues that have not be looked at as regards to your process. You said you couldn’t do the Diaspora issue because of crucial issues. If there were burning issues, how come the money wasn’t spent? It shouldn’t be money sitting in the bank account.
“You need to deal with your process so that once you make appropriation and the monies are released…work on your processes.”
Earlier, a member of the Committee, Hon. Preye Oseke, a member of the House who represents Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency of Bayelsa State had come down hard on the Committee, saying that it was not necessary to approve the 2020 budget for the Commission since it was yet to spend that of 2019.
He said: “In your own case, you have N220 released to you, you only spent N8 million. In next years budget, you have asked for more.
“N1.1b for 2020 is unnecessary because you don’t need the money. You cannot have money that you have not spent and still ask for more. You don’t need this money. This money should be deployed to some places it is needed”.