By Adedeji Adeyemi Fakorede
Vice chairman Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola has faulted moves by Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, minister of Finance, to approve the budget of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
According to Senator Adeola, the proposal of the minister to vet the income and expenditure of NCC was a breach of Section 25(2) of the NCC Act.
Nigerian Communications Commission is the independent National Regulatory Authority for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria.
Senator Adeola said that the Minister was wrong on her submission that the NCC, among other revenue generating agencies should submit their “budgets for approval”, adding that any attempt by the minister of Finance and the supervising minister to approve the budget of NCC in particular would amount to a breach of the law and an encroachment on the function and power of the national legislature.
Reacting to the briefing of the minister after the first Federal Executive Council meeting in the year, Senator Adeola noted that under the NCC Act, only the National Assembly was empowered to consider and approve the budget of NCC.
He said, “I am surprised that the minister was quoted as including NCC among other agencies required to submit budgets for her and other supervising ministers to approve. As well intentioned as this may seem in the effort to generate revenue and block leakages, it is a flagrant contravention of the NCC Act as well as usurping the power of the National Assembly to approve the budget of NCC.”
The vice chairman of Senate Committee on Communications who referred the minister to Sections 17-21 of the NCC Act that dwells on the financial provisions for NCC, said that the only fund NCC was mandated to pay to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation is “all monies accruing from the sale of spectrum” as contained in Section 17(3).