Budget Defence: Reps query Population Commission for spending N1.9bn on summit, conferences

The House of Representatives Committee on Population has queried the National Population Commission, NPC, over N 1.9 billion spent on presidential summit in villa and conferences organised across the country.

The House of Representatives Committee on Population has queried the National Population Commission, NPC, over N 1.9 billion spent on the presidential summit in villa and conferences organised across the country.

The committee at the budget defence in Abuja on Wednesday challenged the NPC directors to make an oral presentation of the N1.9 billion expended for the summit and conferences.

Gboluga Ikengboju (Ondo-APC) moved the motion for the NCP to go back and take a critical look at the discrepancies in the document they presented to the committee.

According to him, in view of the discrepancies that cannot be justified by the commission and the fact that the 2022 format cannot be accepted, we want the commission to go back and provide more detail.

“We cannot be speculating over tax payers money. I hereby move that they should go back and tidy up these documents’,” he said.

Ifeanyi Momah (PDP-Anambra), a member of the committee expressed worry over how N129 million was used for a one day seminar at the villa.

He further asked if the money spent on the presidential summit held at the villa was meant only for the villa event or stakeholders conferences held in various states.

The lawmaker also asked the commission why the N5 billion budgeted for the mock census did not reach the staff deployed for that purpose in Anambra.

He said this was because some of the staff deployed to Anambra had to reach out to him and other stakeholders for financial support when the money budgeted for that purpose was not forthcoming.

Mr Momah said he along with other stakeholders had to bail the staff out, while calling on the commission to throw more light on what they used the money for.

Reps Bamidele Salam (PDP-Osun) also asked why the money used at the villa for the summit was not captured in the 2022 budget.

The committee however asked the commission to furnish the committee with expenditure pattern at the villa summit and the stakeholders conferences at the state level.

The committee demanded to know how

N5 billion was spent on the mock Census, while asking that NCP should provide the utilisation of the N1.9 billion spent by the commission.

The committee gave the commission till Nov. 16 to give them a feedback and reconvened.

The representative of NCP Chairman, Bala Banye, Chairman, Finance and General Purpose Committee of the commission, had earlier posited that the money spent covered the summit and states conferences.

He said the commission had documentary evidence how the money was spent, saying, the understanding is that the summit was also done in all states of the Federation.

Arinola Olanipekun, Director of Census, NCP, said the stakeholders workshop was to bring to Nigerian census 2023 instrument as to question and the nature of data that would be generated.

She said it was also to meet the development of the country in order to seek Nigerians opinion on how to meet their needs.

“The national stakeholders is very necessary and needed the buy in of the President, it added a lots of colour to it.

She said the stakeholders conference was capture in the capital expenditure, adding that was meant to be a one day activities, stressing that the stakeholders meeting was captured in the 2022 budget.

Fagbemi Benjamin, NPC Director of Finance, who was put on oath by the committee said the money spent at the villa event was N129 million, adding that the remaining N1.2 billion was for the 36 states and FCT. (NAN)

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