The Nigerian senate has approved the sum of N22.7 trillion that was spent by the executive arm of government without the initial approval of the national assembly.
The approved funds borrowed by the Federal Government from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through ways and means advances, have been subject of dispute between the executive arm of government and some members of the national assembly, especially the opposition members.
The upper legislative chamber approved the request on Wednesday during plenary, after the senate leader, Ibrahim Gobir, presented a report to the committee of the whole.
Some agencies have benefited from the funds
Gobir said some of the beneficiaries of the funds are the office of the accountant-general of the federation, the Ministry of foreign affairs (ECOWAS national unit), Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading, Azura Power West Africa, Niger Delta Power Holding Company, and Accugas Limited.
Senate suspended approval
President Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter to the Senate in December 2022, requested for the approval of the upper legislative chamber for N22.7 trillion ways and means advances.
The Ways and Means are advances (or funds) from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the federal government for emergency funding of delayed receipt of fiscal deficit.
Buhari in the letter said, “The ways and means advances by the Central Bank of Nigeria to the federal government has been a funding option to the federal government to cater for short-term or emergency finance to fund delayed government-expected cash receipt of fiscal deficit.
“The ways and means, balances as at 19th December 2022 is N22.7 trillion.”
This led to a rowdy session in the upper legislative chamber with the senators who kicked against it, demanding that the records of what the funds were spent on be presented to the senate before it can give approval to the request.
Following the uproar the request caused by the request, the senate suspended its consideration with the senate president, Ahmad Lawan, appointing Gobir to chair an ad hoc committee and liaise with relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) on the spending.
Though the Gobir-led panel was meant to have turned in its report in January, it was only able to do so at Wednesday’s sitting.
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