NASS Query NCC for Inflating Salary Budget to N29.195bn

The Joint Senate and House of Representatives’ Committee on Telecommunications, yesterday, queried the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, for shooting its financial provision for payment of consultancy services.

The payment, it was noted rose to N29.195 billion proposed for payment of salaries and wages in the 2021 fiscal year as against the sum of N16.850 billion approved in the 2020 fiscal year.

The query was given at 2021 budget defence session of the committee with the NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Umar Dambatta.

The lawmakers also demanded explanation over the increase in the consultancy services of N1billion proposed for 2021 against the sum of N394.331 million approved in the 2020 Appropriation Act. In his response, Dambatta through the Director of Finance and Administration said that the details of the budget performance as at November 30, 2020, showed the total budget of N140.383 billion but the actual figure came to N79.660 billion.

“For the Expenditures (recurrent) total recurrent expenditure that was budgeted was N39.297 billion and what was spent was N28.5 billion. Under the capital project, the total capital Expenditure was budget at N8.129 billion and the actual as at November 30, was N1.427 billion.

“For the special project, the total budget was N20.863 billion and what has been spent so far is N13.65 billion.

“For total capital project, the budget was N28.9 billion and what was spent was N1.4 billion; Transfer to USPF, N7.5 billion was projected and N5.583 billion was spent. For Transfer to Federal Government of Nigeria, N64.208 billion was budgeted and N35.7 billion was remitted,” he said.

On the revenue side, the commission realised a total of N167 million realized out of N1.5 billion budgeted for licensing fees; realized N51.5 billion out of N68.5 billion for annual operating levy; realized N22.778 billion out N47.653 billion budgeted; realized N4.76 million out N115.196 million, respectively.

In the documents presented to the Joint Committee, the proposed total revenue expected for 2021 stands at N112.810 billion and additional sum of N49.527 billion from funds for broadband infrastructure and transfer from reserve (totaling N162.067 billion for 2021), against the sum of N123.132 billion and additional sum of N17.252 billion from funds for broadband infrastructure (totaling N140.384 billion) for year 2020.

In the same vein, the total recurrent is also expected to rise from N39.297 billion in 2020 to N61.541 billion in 2021; total capital and special expenditure is to rise from N28.993 billion in 2020 to N51.524 billion in 2021; showing overall increase in the Commission’s total expenditure from N68.290 billion in 2020 to N113.065 billion in 2021 as proposed.

The commission’s projected transfer to the Federal Government for the year 2021 estimated at the sum of N42.002 billion against N64.208 for year 2020 out of which N29.697 billion has so far been remitted in addition to N5.5 billion paid recently.

Meanwhile, the committee discovered a discrepancy between the proposed N29.195 billion salaries and wages for 2021 and N16.850 approved for 2020 in relations to the 300 staff recruited by the Commission.

According to a member of the committee, NCC “employed people but it was done through the backdoor.”

Also speaking, Siaka Ayokunle alleged that: “Alot of things are shredded in secrecy here.”

In his intervention, Senator Emmanuel Orker-Jev also expressed concern over the recruitment of the 300 staff.

He asked the commission to provide the nominal roll to ascertain the actual number of employees and adherence to federal character policy. In his response, the NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Umar Dambatta promised to make the nominal roll available.

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