The leadership of the House of Representatives has ordered an investigation into the management of Nigeria’s foreign reserve accounts.
The House mandated its Committee on Finance to scrutinise the running of the Foreign Reserve Accounts by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the interest that had accrued to the country from the last four years.
In a motion sponsored by Honourable Abdulssamad Dasuki on Wednesday, the lower chamber pointed out that the accruals from the accounts had not been openly declared by the CBN.
The Committee was also directed to understand the criteria being applied by the CBN for engaging foreign managers for the Foreign Reserve Accounts of the federation.
The Nigerian Senate held a debate on the much anticipated report of a committee that looked into the alleged unremitted 49.8 billion dollars oil revenue.
After critically looking at the report, the Senate dismissed the allegation by the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), insisting that there was no such fund missing.
Many Nigerians will not forget in a hurry the drama that followed the allegation by the then CBN governor Mr Sanusi Lamido, now the Emir of Kano (Muhammed Sanusi II), that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) failed to remit 49.8 billion dollars into the Federation Account.
The war of words between the NNPC and Mr Lamido was interesting to say the least with both camps trading blames and levelling accusations against each other.
The Senate waded into the controversy and asked its Committee on Finance to investigate the allegations made by Mr Sanusi Lamido.
The committee organised several public hearings, interviewing agencies and organisations that may have had dealings with the NNPC during the period and later came out with its report which has been in the public sphere for some time now.
The chairman of the finance committee, Senator Ahmed Markarfi, gave details of the investigation at plenary.
He said there was never any unremitted 49.8 billion dollars and the committee did not see how the CBN governor arrived at the figure of 49.8 billion dollars in the first place.
The committee observed that that there was lack of proper and adequate coordination between the key government agencies such as CBN, NNPC, ministries of Finance and Petroleum, FIRS and DPR.
Lawmakers then debated the report, but the debate got off on a rocky start.
The committee in the report recommended that the subsidy regime be totally abolished.
But this recommendation was shot down by lawmakers.
The committee also recommended that the NNPC refund and remit 262 million dollars being expenses it could not satisfactorily defend in respect of holding strategic stock reserve, pipeline maintenance and management cost as well as capital expenditure.
This edition of the Gavel looks at the federal lawmakers’ discussion on the details of the report
The 10-month strike of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) also got the attention of the in the House of Representatives as they sought to end the strike.
Specifically, polytechnic lecturers went in strike on October 4, 2013.
The lecturers are demanding for proper funding of polytechnics, an end to the discrimination of polytechnic graduates among others.
The National Medical Association’s ongoing industrial action was also discussed at the Senate plenary.
In the video of this week’s edition of the Gavel, a member Senate Committee on Health, Senator Marjorie Okadigbo, expressed worries over the strike, stressing the need for the government and the medical workers to resolve the issues that led to the strike.
The House of Representatives Committee on Finance is to begin a public hearing to dissect the response of the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to its 50 questions.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala had sent a reply to 50 questions posed to her in an earlier meeting with the committee, but the House members did not seem satisfied with her answers.
To this end, the Clerk of the Committee on Finance, Farouk Mustapha, said that the members are in receipt of the 102-page response, but a public hearing would commence where all concerned Nigerians would get information on the NNPC missing funds and other lapses found in the economy.
The Minister had been scheduled to meet with the committee in December 2013, but the proposed meeting degenerated into a disagreement between her and the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Abdul-Mumini Jibrin.
The Chairman had ruled that the Minister, who had said that she was feeling a bit sick, would be excused and should return at another date to meet with the committee.
The confrontation, however, ensued when the Minister insisted that she was ready to speak to the committee and the committee insisted that they stand by their ruling that the Minister should return on another date, presenting her with the said document containing the 50 questions.
The newly announced public hearing is expected to bring out the needed information to finally clear the air on the state of the nation’s economy.