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NEITI budgeted N960m as personnel cost for 43 staff

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Senate has kicked against the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI’s N960 million personnel cost in 2022 budget for 43 staff.

Senate Committee on Public Accounts queried the expenditure when the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya, appeared before the Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo South) led Senate Committee to present his 2023 budget for the first time.

Trouble started when Ogbonnaya read the 2022 budget performance, explaining that the Personnel Cost of the agency was N960 while overhead cost stood at N760.9 million and the capital budget was N344 million.

spent, while 58 percent of overhead cost was spent and only 50 percent of capital has been released so far.

Not comfortable with his explanations, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Urhoghide, wondered how the agency spent only 51 percent of his personnel cost as at November 2022, stressing that this was a case of over-bloated personnel cost in the agency.

Urhoghide said, “You have only taken 51 percent of your personnel cost at November; your personnel cost is really really too high.

“You have only two months and you have just collected 51 percent of your personnel cost.

“This is one case of personnel budget over-bloated; it is that it is systemic leakage.

We are going to reduce your personnel cost to less than N500 million.”

Responding, the Executive Secretary explained that when the agency started operations, it was only on oil and gas, but that now the agency has moved into solid minerals and it needed more manpower to carry our its operations.

According to Ogbonnaya, the agency currently has 43 staff, just as he said that NEITI had approval to recruit more staff as this was made available in the 2022 budget and the process had just been concluded.

He added that the newly-recruited 70 staff were already captured by IPPIS and have not been paid.

However, Senator Ibrahim Danbaba asked the Executive Secretary of NEITI to submit the nominal role of the agency to ascertain what he told the lawnmakers.

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