The members of the upper legislative chamber on Tuesday summoned the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed and the Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, over the variation in the contract sum of the 3 key Federal Government legacy projects.
These legacy projects are the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the Abuja-Kano road and the Second Niger bridge.
The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, and the Managing Director of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr Uche Orji, were also summoned by the Senate.
The summon was issued during an interactive meeting between the Senate Committee on Finance and officials of the NSIA.
These legacy projects are being funded with the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) managed by the NSIA.
The PIDF, which was established in 2018 by the Buhari administration with an initial seed funding of $650 million from the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) dividend account at the CBN, for investment in critical road and power projects across the country.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Solomon Olamilekan, while issuing the summon to the heads of the agencies, said they are to explain the variation in the contract sum of the projects between the periods of initiation up to the time the PIDF took over the funding.
During the meeting with members of the committee, the NSIA boss revealed that all documentation and information relating to the projects before it was handed over to his agency should be sought from the ministry of works, who had the construction contracts executed with the contractors.
Orji pointed out that the NSIA was not responsible for the accumulated debts on those projects because they preceded the establishment of the NSIA.
He said, ‘’All questions regarding the legacy debts are matters preceding our entrance. Those who were there should answer.”
Going further, Orji explained that NSIA had so far, disbursed N231.8 billion, with N60.9 billion disbursements for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, N100.7 billion for the Second Niger Bridge and N70.1 billion for the Abuja-Kano Road.
He said the PIDF balance, which includes the recent receipt of the $311 million recovered looted asset, stood at N181.4 billion as at June 2020.
Orji also said, “We estimate that these funds will be depleted by the beginning of Q3 2021. Under the PIDF mandate, NSIA is to receive two transfers of 650 million dollars. So far, NSIA has received one of the transfers. Once the funding in Q3 2021 is expended, NSIA will either need the additional transfer or raise funding from other sources.”
Back story: It can be recalled that the House of Representatives committee on works, over a week ago expressed its displeasure at the slow pace of work by Julius Berger in the handling of the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road projects.
They said that with the way they are going, it might be impossible to complete these projects for commissioning by President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Budget proposal review of MDAs is a legislative right – Femi Gbajabiamila
Gbajabiamila has stated that the budget review on MDAs conducted by the House of Assembly is a right of the National Assembly.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, stated that the budget review on MDAs conducted by the House of Assembly is a right of the National Assembly. He added that the House of Assembly has the constitutional right to ask questions on MDA budgets.
Reps Committee warns MDAs against failure to render accounts to Auditor-General
House of Reps Committee has warned MDAs against failure to render accounts to Auditor-General of the Federation.
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has urged that the heads of MDAs must render their audited accounts for the fiscal year to the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF) and warned against non-compliance.
Senate approves issuance of N148bn promissory notes to Bayelsa, 4 others
Promissory notes worth N148,141,969,161.24 has been approved by the Senate as refund to Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and Rivers States
Promissory notes worth N148.141billion have been approved by the Senate as a refund to Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun, and Rivers States for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
The approval which was given by the Senate at the plenary on Tuesday, 24th November 2020, came after the presentation of a report by the Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, led by Senator Ordia Clifford (PDP-Edo).
According to a news report by NAN, this is a go-ahead to the Federal Government, who had sought the approval of the Senate for issuance of promissory notes for a refund on federal projects executed by State governments.
The request was contained in a letter addressed to President of Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan by President Muhammadu Buhari, and read at plenary. The Senate referred the matter to the Committee on Local and Foreign Debts for further legislative input.
Senator Ordia Clifford, while presenting the report of the committee, said the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance; Federal Commissioners of Finance and Works in the five states, had briefed the committee on details of the projects.
He said the Committee was presented with documents relating to the approvals of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing for the execution of the projects and certificates of completion, amongst other documents.
At the plenary today, Senator Ordia moved the motion that the Senate approves the Committee’s recommendations by approving the issuance of the promissory notes to the State governments.
According to him, the amount due to the five states is N148.14billion.
- Bayelsa was allotted N38.40billion
- Cross River was allotted N18.39billion
- Ondo was allotted N7.82billion
- Osun was allotted N4.57billion
- Rivers was allotted N78.95billion
What they are saying
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, disclosed that records showed PDP states had the highest refund, he said: “If you look at the list of states, only two are APC states and they have the least in terms of refund, this is fantastic and a mark of leadership by the Federal Government. This shows tolerance and leadership by this administration.”