By Tijani Adeyemi
This is not good news for the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) as the Senate Committee on Works threatened to remove the professional body from benefiting from the annual federal budget because the organization is seen as conduct pipe where government money is siphoned.
The Senate Committee on Works headed by Senator Adamu Aleiro also vowed to give the professional body a zero allocation in the 2023 fiscal year.
Trouble started when the Registrar of COREN Engr. Ademola Bello was asked to defend how the 2022 budget allocation was utilized as well as the achievements of COREN in the year under review but failed the expectations of the lawmakers who are members of the Works Committee.
Engr. Bello had told the committee that his organization is tackling the menace of incessant building collapse across the country and that investigations conducted so far on collapsed buildings including that of 21 storey building in Lekki in Lagos state have shown that some COREN members are culpable and the names of those involved in professional misconduct would soon be forwarded to the Inspector General of Police for prosecution.
Engr. Bello also explained that COREN was given a sum of N2.4 billion for the 2022 fiscal year and a whooping sum of N1.2 billion was spent to organise Annual Conference.
He also told the committee members that the personnel cost in the 2023 budget was increased by N200 million because COREN is planning to have its offices in 36 states of the federation in 2023.
When he was asked by Senator Aliero how much the COREN remitted to the federation account, Engr. Bello’s answer was N45 million.
The lawmakers were not happy about the poor remittance and the COREN officials were later directed produce evidence of remittance to the federation accounts among others.
However a member of the committee, Senator George Sekibo said there is no justification to continue to place COREN under the federal budget as it can stand alone as a professional body like Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), as well as other professional bodies.
He stressed that ” how can COREN spend about N1.2 billion naira on annual conference and remit just N45 million into the federation accounts? Government is in need of money to provide infrastructure to Nigerians. COREN should be made to stand as a professional body and stay out of money from the government”. Senator Sekibo said
The chairman of the Works Committee therefore suspended further consideration of COREN’s budget and directed COREN Registrar to provide evidence of remittance to the federation accounts. (Tribune)