Senate has queried the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) for utilising N367 million, being 75 percent of its internally generated revenue in 2017, without National Assembly approval.
It also rejected the 2018 budget proposal of the Authority, on the grounds that its budget estimate was not accompanied by the projected IGR for next year.
This was the outcome of the 2018 budget defence of NNRA before the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) on Wednesday.
In his budget presentation, director-general, NNRA, Lawrence Anikwe Dim, admitted that out of the N490 million generated in 2017, 25 percent was paid into Treasury Single Account (TSA), while the remaining N367 million was spent by the Authority.
This presentation did not go down well with senators as they accused the NNRA of violating the Constitution.
A member of the committee, Andrew Uchendu, said the panel would not continue with budget defence if the amount was not properly accounted for.
“If the amount the Director General was referring to was not captured in your budget performance for 2017, then how do we proceed with budget defence for 2018, if that huge sum has not been accounted for in your budget performance? Then we have not started budget defence.
“You are coming for budget defence. And that amount of money was generated and utilised. And you didn’t think it was necessary to account for it. We have had some experience with them over the last 12 years. And this type of situation has always arisen and it is not acceptable at all,” he said.
Also speaking, chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Baba Kaka Garbai, pointed out that any amount internally generated must have the approval of the National Assembly before utilisation. He said: “What you have done without approval is an infraction of the existing laws guiding public expenditure.”
Another member of the panel, Clifford Ordia, spoke in the same vein.
An attempt by the chairman of the Committee, Tayo Alasaodura, to give the NNRA soft landing by submitting that the Authority be pardoned, was rebuffed by his vice, Gershom Bassey, who insisted that this would amount to a cover up.
“We clearly have a case of constitutional breach,” he said.
The committee chairman therefore asked the Authority to furnish it on how the N367million was expended and details of the 2018 budget.