The Senate on Tuesday warned relevant members of the executive to supply the details required for the passage of the N23.7 trillion Ways and Means Restructuring demanded by President Muhammadu Buhari in December last year.
The Lawmakers said that the warning became necessary to allow the Upper Chamber do the needful ahead of the Presidential and National Assembly elections coming up next month.
They said that by deliberating on the document and passing it, the Senate can then adjourn plenary this week or latest by Tuesday next week for better participation in campaigns.
They particularly ordered the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN), Godwin Emefiele, to supply, within three days, the required information on the presidential request to the special committee set up for that purpose last year.
This position is sequel to a request made by the Senate Leader, Senator Ibrahim Gobir (APC Sokoto East), the Chairman of the Special Committee set up to interface with the Finance Minister and CBN Governor for details on the N27.3 trillion Ways and Means Restructuring, for additional three days.
Gobir told the Senate that a series of attempts made by the Committee from 28th December , 2022 to Tuesday, 17th January, 2023, to meet the Finance Minister and CBN Governor for the required details did not yield the desired results.
He said: “As a special committee for urgent and thorough assignment , we hit the ground running immediately after composition on 28th of December last year.
“For required details on the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means Restructuring , six vital questions were raised , five for the CBN governor and one for the Finance Minister, but their trips abroad prevented us from asking them the questions.
“Now that they are around , we request the Senate to give us additional three days for thorough work on the assignment and submission of the report,” he said .
However, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his response described the Ways and Means request from the President as a very serious issue, and must be treated the same way.
“We must have necessary information for passage of the N22.7 trillion request and time is not on our side in the Senate now in view of coming general elections.
“If there is need for the Senate to sit up to Friday this week for thorough consideration and passage of the request , it will be done but the affected officials from the executive must also expedite action on provision of required information as regards documents authorising approval and disbursement of the monies totalling N22.7 trillion.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had in separate letters to both Chambers of the National Assembly on December 21, 2022, sought for approval of restructuring of N23.7 trillion Ways and Means.
The President 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 physical deficit.
“The ways and means , balances as at 19th December 2022 is N22.7 trillion.
“I have approved the securitization of the ways and means balances along the following terms and Amount: N23 .7 trillion , Tenure 40 years, Moratorium on principal repayment, three years, Pricing interest rate 9%.
“Your concurrence and approval is sought to allow for the implementation of same.”
Attempts made by the Senate to approve the request during passage of the N21.83 trillion 2023 budget on 28th of December last year failed , making it possible to set up the Senator Gobir led special committee to interface with the executive for necessary information.
President Buhari Seeks Senate’s Confirmation of Seven New Members of ICPC
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has forwarded for confirmation names of seven new members of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to the Senate.
The names of the nominees was contained in a letter read on the floor of the Red Chamber on Tuesday by the Senate President Ahmad Lawan includes Justice Adamu Bello (Rtd) from Katsina state to represent North- West; Hannatu Muhammed from Jigawa state to represent North- West; Mrs Olubukola Balogun from Lagos state to represent South West.
Other members according to the letter are Barr. Obiora Samuel Igwedibia from Anambra state to represent South- East, Dr. Abdullahi Maikano Sadu from Niger State to represent North- Central; Prince Dauda Yahaya Umar from Nasarawa state to represent North-Central and Dr. Grace Nkechinyere Chida from Deltal state to represent South-South
President Buhari in his letter said the nominees’ appointment is in accordance with the provisions of section 3 (3) and 7 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act 2000.
President Buhari also urged the Senate to expedite action on the screening and confirmation of the nominees.
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