Why probe on N30trn Ways and Means will continue – Senate

The Senate’s probe into the  N30 trillion Ways and Means facilities granted the federal government at different times from 2014 to 2023  by the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) got  intensified last week.

Window for intensification of the probe exercise was opened for the Ad – hoc committee saddled with it last week Thursday by the Senate with two months extension granted for the assignment.

Chairman of the Ad – hoc committee set up in March this year,  Senator Isah Jibrin (APC Kogi East) had in seeking for more time, informed the Senate that required vital information for the probe exercise were still being expected from some of the relevant agencies involved in the spending of the monetary facilities.

In a telephone conversation with journalists in Abuja on Saturday, Senator Jibrin who doubles as Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs and Excise Duties, said the two months extension granted the committee by the Senate on Thursday last week would make it to further intensify the probe exercise.

“Most of the relevant agencies have been contacted and their documents being thoroughly scrutinised as regards spending of the disbursement gotten from the ways and means.

“Being a very sensitive national assignment, the committee is carrying out very thorough investigation devoid of rushing into conclusion.

“More pressures would now be mounted on few of the agencies that have not adequately responded to vital information seeking requests forwarded to them, failure of which would lead to summoning of heads of such agencies.

“The new time frame given for the investigation by the Senate , will surely make the committee, come up with thoroughly investigative report in   September this year on how the N30 trillion Ways and Means were disbursed within the period under review,  for what purposes and expended,” he said.

Ways and Means is a loan facility through which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) finances the federal government’s budget shortfalls.

This way of financing government deficits usually results in macroeconomic instability, leading to inflation and high exchange rates because of the excess liquidity injected into the economy.

The CBN law limits advances under ways and means to 5 percent of the previous year’s revenue, but this has been mostly breached over the years.

As a way of remedying the situation, the CBN Governor,  Olayemi Cardoso, declared in February this year, that the bank would no longer grant ways and means advances to the government until all outstanding debts are refunded.