Senate to probe Buhari, others over N30trn Ways & Means as Shettima blames Atiku, Obi for Nigeria’s economic woes

The Senate Tuesday resolved to probe the totality of N30trillion Ways and Means spent by former President Muhammadu Buhari- led federal government, which according to it, was recklessly spent.

It specifically alleged that reckless spending of the overdraft collected from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under Godwin Emefiele, largely accounted for food and security crises bedeviling the nation now.

It consequently resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee  to carry out investigation on what and what the N30trillion 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 committee which will be constituted Wednesday (today) will also probe the N10trillion expended on Anchor Borrowers Scheme, the $2.4billion forex transaction out of $7billion obligation made for that purpose as well as other intervention programmes. 

Senate’s resolutions on planned investigations followed consideration of report of its joint committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Finance, National Planning, Agriculture and Appropriation on State of the Economy after interactive sessions with the federal government’s 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 .7trillion Ways and Means was passed by the 9th Senate May 2023 and additional N7.2trillion passed  30th December, 2023 by the 10th Senate. 

Specifically, 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.

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

He was, however, countered by Deputy Senate   President 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, Senate President Godswill Akpabio said as recommended by the committee and supported by most of the senators, “a thorough probe must be carried out on the N22.7trillion Ways and Means approved in May 2023 by the 9th Senate which later increased to N30trillion, 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.

“Other recommendations made by the committee on the need for thorough investigation of the N10trillion Anchor borrowers’ programme, and other intervention programmes, running into billions of dollars must be investigated.

“But as rightly recommended by the joint committee, security agencies should as a matter of national urgency combat all forms of insecurity across the country for farmers to access their farms for required food production that is  highly needed in the country now.” he said.

…Shettima blames frustrated politicians

However, Vice President Kashim Shettima has alleged some elements who lost out during the last elections are sabotaging the federal government’s effort at sanitising the nation’s economy.

He, therefore, said it was it was time for Nigerians to come together and address the challenges confronting the nation.

Vice President Shettima said this at the Public Wealth Management Conference in Abuja Tuesday.

“We have to make this country work. We have to move beyond politics, we are now in a place of governance. Sadly, sadly, some of our countrymen are still in the political mode. They are the practitioners of violence, advocating that Nigeria, our one and only country, should go the Venezuela way. Some are advocating that we should go the Lebanon way. But Nigeria is greater than any one of us here. Nigeria will weather the storm.

“Guess what, after coming on board, our revenue for sharing in FAAC was N1.9 trillion. In order not to overheat the economy, we had to warehouse N1 trillion and share N900 billion. We are not altogether in a very bad shape than the FX challenge. All hands are on deck to address the FX challenge. We know the consequences of unveiling the masquerade. Forces are hell bent on plunging this country into a state of anarchy, those that could not get into power through the ballot box. Instead of waiting for 2027, they are so desperate; this country can fall apart as far as they are concerned. But we are going to visit them. Just a few nights ago, 45 trucks of maize were caught being transported into a neighbouring country. There are 32 illegal routes. At the moment when they were intercepted, the price of maize fell by N10, 000, from N60, 000 to N50,000. So, there are forces that are hell bent on undermining our nation but this is the time for us to come together.

“Rally round our President, rally round our governors, and rally round each other. We have the resources, we have the intellect, and we have the resources. I am assuring you that we have crossed the Rubicon. We are on the way to improved economic performance. Let’s unite. What binds us together supersedes whatever that divides us,” Vice President Shettima said.   

Shettima lamented the nation’s loss in revenues from its assets over the years due largely to neglect on the part of the government.

He said: “We have not had records, a consolidated register is scattered across hundreds of agencies. This has resulted in gross under-utilization in management and loss of revenue running into billions that would have assuaged millions of Nigerians.

“The mandate and restructuring of MOFI presents a new chapter in Nigeria’s public wealth, management and utilization, MOFI’s role as a manager of the federal government’s assets mandates it to bring expertise, transparency and accountability inherent in the realization of prosperity for our nation.

“I am confident that public assets will now deliver significant higher returns through improved corporate government and innovative private sector partnership. Higher returns from public enterprises will provide crucial funding for education, health care, housing power, roads, and other areas vital to pulling millions out of poverty. I must emphasise that this mandate is not just about increasing government revenue but more significantly, the optimization of public assets will catalyze improved living for our people.”

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