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FG begins investigation of N30trn Ways and Means loans, gives update on CNG vehicles

Edun said, “The procurement of electric and CNG buses and conversion kits, more importantly, has been held up by a spike in the freight costs.

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FG begins investigation of N30trn Ways and Means loans, gives update on CNG vehicles

The Federal Government announced that it has made significant progress in the forensic probe of the N30 trillion Ways and Means loans processed by the immediate past administration by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, told Senate Committee on Wednesday.

Minister Edun also blamed the spike in freight costs for the delay in the take-off of the electric and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles.

The minister pledged that his ministry would intensify efforts in monitoring the revenue generating agencies to be up and doing.

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Edun made the assertions when he appeared in the company of Accountant-General of the Federation, Dr. Oluwatoyin Madein, before the Senate Committee on Appropriation in Abuja over budget performance.

Edun said, “The procurement of electric and CNG buses and conversion kits, more importantly, has been held up by a spike in the freight costs.

“It’s just the ingenuity of one of the young men that is in that business that we have got a bulk carrier that has a lower freight cost.

“Also, the trade cost per bus became daunting and it made people to just hold on in order to see whether in fact, this procurement was profitable for them.”

On debt payments, he said: “We have paid $700 million in debt services for 420 national development agencies and others.”

Speaking on the contentious Ways and Means facility, Edun said, “We are also interrogating the N22.7 trillion that we met on the underground. We had instituted forensic audit to see the impact.

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“We are also interrogating the revenues that are due to us from everybody because we need to, in view of the fact that Ways and Means is going down rather than up. So, we are servicing all the debts.”

The Senate panel urged the Federal Government to intensify efforts in funding the capital components of the national budgets which are being implemented concurrently.

Committee chairman, Senator Solomon Adeola, lamented the poor funding of the capital components of budgets and urged the minister to improve on it.

Adeola said, “It is the capital component of the budgets that will showcase this government largely in terms of performances.

“The capital components tend to showcase various projects that will be executed by this government and people can say, oh, the government is doing this, it’s doing that.

“That is why we are emphasising on the performance of 2024 capital component. The N1.84 billion achieved so far out of a N9 trillion capital expenditure component is nothing to write home about.

“I would want you to please look towards this direction. And I want you to do more engagement with the ministries and departments and agencies of the government,” he said.

The senator also urged the minister to engage more with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), saying most of them were not aware of the current arrangement regarding funding of capital projects.

He said, “Some agencies will tell you that they have not been given any money for capital projects when we are fully aware that the process of payment of capital has changed.

“That shows lot of engagement must go on from time to time to bring it to their notice that you are no longer in charge of payment to contractors.

“I want you to please do continuous engagement. It will help, so that everybody can come to terms that the system has changed.

“Everything about the method of payment, method of business has changed. I would say that. Coming back to the NNPCL, we make it known that we have been assured of two million barrels.

“Long before now, we have been on 1.2 million barrels over this period. So, that shows that we now have the capacity of two million barrels. Why is it now the NNPCL is assuring us of two million barrels?”

He also spoke of plans by the Senate to organise a public hearing on the NNPCL where stakeholders in the oil and gas sector would be invited, including the Finance Minister.

He, however, commended the minister for achieving 100 per cent funding of the 2023 supplementary budgets.

The senator said, “We did supplementary budget, which we have achieved 100% release, which is highly commendable.

“It will not be out of place for you to have a periodic report on the implementation level of these agencies, so that at least you can be guided on why transiting to the new method of payment as you can be guided.”

Proofreading, editing by Gift Luckson and Hafsat Aleeyu Muye, Journalist and Editor at Neptune Prime.

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