Home Economy NASS dumps consideration of N23.7trn Buhari Ways and Means conversion to loans request

NASS dumps consideration of N23.7trn Buhari Ways and Means conversion to loans request

by Business News Report

National Assembly has dumped the consideration on how to restructure the payment of N23. 7 trillion “Ways and Means” secured from the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) in the last 10 years to loans. The Senate and the House of Representatives had slated the report on the issue for presentation and consideration, but later dropped the bid in the Senate Order Paper, the Senate Leader, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, was billed to ask the Senate to receive and consider the report of the Committee on Ways and Means on the approval of Ways and Means 2022. The matter was number two under Presentation and Consideration of Reports, but was not taken. Prelude to the development, the Senate had in January warned  officials of executive arm of government that are suppose to give required details on passage of  N23.7trillion Ways and Means Restructuring forwarded to it by President Muhammadu Buhari in December last year to do so without hesitation. 

According to the Senate then, it become very imperative for the government officials to appear before it as soon as possible to brief it on the N23.7 trillion Ways and Means against the backdrop that because of next month’s Presidential and National Assembly elections,  it would adjourn plenary this week or latest by Tuesday next week for practical participation in the  campaigns. The Senate had  specifically asked  the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed and the Governor of  Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, to within three days, supply required information on the presidential request to the special committee set up for that purpose last year. The warning by the Senate then  was sequel to  request by its Leader, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, who is the Chairman of the Special Committee set up to interface with the Finance Minister and CBN Governor for details on the N27.3trillion Ways and Means Restructuring, for additional three days .

Speaking under Order 40 of the Senate Standing rules as amended which has to do with with  personal explanation, Gobir had said  that 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 proved abortive. Gobir said then “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 N22.7trillion 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 report.”

Not happy with the development, the President of the Senate,  Senator Ahmad Lawan while  responding  said that the Ways and Means request from the President is  a very serious issue  that must not be taken with levity by all those concerned. Lawan who  had  declared  that the Senate was prepared  to approve the request after thorough scrutiny which can only be done if required details are provided by relevant officials from the executive arm of government, said, ” We must have necessary information for passage of the N22.7trillion 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 N22.7trillion.” President Muhammadu Buhari had in separate letters to both the Senate and the House of Representatives  on December 21, 2022, sought for approval of restructuring of N23.7trillion 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 securitisation of the ways and means balances along the following terms; Amount. N23 .7 trillion, Tenure  40years, 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 N21.83trillion 2023 budget on 28th of December last year failed which led to the setting up  of the Senator Gobir led special committee to liaise with the executive for necessary information.

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