Uproar as Senate moves to probe Buhari’s N30trn Ways and Means spending

0
75

By Olugbenga Salami

There was a mild drama on Tuesday as the Senate resolved to revisit about 30 Trillion Ways and Means approved by it for the federal government under former President Muhammadu Buhari, which details, it said was never provided for scrutiny.

Specifically, the Red Chamber alleged that reckless spending of the overdraft collected from the Godwin Emefiele-led Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, largely accounted for food and security crises presently facing the country.

It consequently resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to carry out thorough investigation on how the 30 Trillion Ways and Means were spent on by the immediate past government since details of such spending were deliberately not made available to the National Assembly.

The ad-hoc committee which will be constituted on Wednesday this week, will also probe the N10 Trillion expended on Anchor Borrowers Scheme, the $2.4billion forex transaction out of $7billion obligation made for that purpose as well as other intervention programmes.

The Senate resolutions followed the consideration of a report of its joint Committees on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions; Finance; National Planning; Agriculture, and Appropriations on state of the economy after interactive sessions with the federal government economic management team.

The report consideration in plenary Tuesday, was very stormy with accusations and counter accusations by Senators on why and how the N22.7 trillion ways and means was passed by the 9th Senate in May 2023 and additional N7.2 trillion passed on 30th December, 2023 by the 10th Senate.

The Whip of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume (APC Borno South), in his contribution, blamed the Senate for approving the request without details from the then President Muhammadu Buhari.

“When the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means approval request was brought before the 9th Senate , I insisted that details of spendings made with it should be provided before approval but the Senate then went ahead and approved it,” he said.

He was, however, countered by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Jibrin Barau, who said the decision taken then, was a collective one with caveat that the executive should provide details later, which was however not provided.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio said, as recommended by the committee, and supported by most of the Senators, thorough probe must be carried out on the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means approved in May 2023 by the 9th Senate which later increased to 30 Trillion, with passage of the N7.2trillion accrued interest forwarded to us for passage in the December last year.

“The food and security crises confronting the nation now, are traceable to the way and manner the said Ways and Means were given, collected and spent.

“Details of such spending must be submitted for required scrutiny and possible remedies, because what Nigerians want now, is food on their table, which must be given”, he said.