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HomeNewsNationalEconomy: Senate to probe Buhari’s N30trn Ways and Means spending

Economy: Senate to probe Buhari’s N30trn Ways and Means spending

There was a mild drama on Tuesday as the Senate resolved to revisit the N30 trillion Ways and Means it approved for the Federal Government under former President Muhammadu Buhari, the details of which it said were 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 the food and security crises presently facing the country.

It consequently resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to carry out a thorough investigation on how the N30 trillion was spent 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, will also probe the N10 trillion expended on the Anchor Borrowers Scheme, the $2.4 billion forex transaction out of the $7 billion obligation made for that purpose, as well as other intervention programmes.

The Senate resolutions followed the consideration of the report of its joint committees on Banking, Insurance, and Other Financial Institutions; Finance; National Planning; Agriculture, and Appropriations, on the state of the economy after interactive sessions with the Federal Government economic management team.

The report consideration in plenary on Tuesday was very stormy and full of 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 an additional N7.2 trillion passed on December 30, 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 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 the 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, a 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 N30 trillion, with the passage of the N7.2 trillion accrued interest forwarded for passage in December 2023.

“The food and security crises confronting the nation now, are traceable to the way and manner in which the said ways and means were given, collected, and spent.

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