The House of Representatives Committee On Public Procurement has ordered the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, to appear before it on Tuesday, May 16, over allegations of abuse and breach of the Procurement Act, 2007.
The summon followed a resolution taken at the commencement of an investigative hearing into allegations of abuse, breach and violation of the Public Procurement Act in the engagement of contractors for the pre-shipment inspection and monitoring of crude oil and gas export.
Committee members were displeased with the Finance Minister for failing to appear for the public hearing and failing to submit a memorandum to the committee.
The hearing is as a result of a motion raised by a member of the House, Babatunde Kolawole, who reminded the lower chamber that in June 2015, the President had mandated the finance ministry to process engagement of pre-shipment inspectors through selective tendering approved by the Bureau for Public Procurement.
The lawmaker said in December 2015, after the selection of 65 companies to participate in the bidding stage, the Minister of Finance, however, ordered the immediate cancellation of the tendering process on the grounds of lack of transparency, accountability and on the basis of a formal complaint from the BPP.
The lawmaker asked the house to investigate allegations of abuses in the fresh tendering process.
But the investigative hearing got off to a shaky start as the finance minister failed to appear.
The Chairman of the Committee, Wole Oke, gave the assurance that the comittee would would be thorough in its investigation with the intention of cleaning up the system.
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the operations of the Industrial Trust Fund (ITF) between 2010 to date over the alleged non-disbursement of funds to students.
Speaking on the floor of the Lower Chamber on Wednesday, Honourable Michael Chinda noted that it was unpatriotic for any government agency to deny students who have undergone industrial attachments what was due to them.
Honourable Chinda, a lawmaker from Rivers State, observed that the trend would continue if nothing was done to check the alleged non-payment of industrial allowances to students by the agency.
In another development, Honourable Afe Olowokere from Ondo State stressed the need to allow the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to enforce its powers.
He argued that the breach of the procurement laws by Ministries, Departments and Agencies without any sanction by the BPP renders its existence a waste on the finances of government.
The House consequently mandated its Committee on Gas and Petroleum Resources to meet with relevant government agencies, to investigate government policies towards the actualisation of the 2020 Gas Flaring Exit. and submit its report in eight weeks.
The Committee has been asked to submit its report to the lawmakers in eight weeks.
The House of Representatives has directed its Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to investigate the disappearance of 11 billion Naira worth of petroleum products said to belong to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from a private tank farm where it was stored.
In a motion sponsored by Rep Yussuf Tajudeen, the House observed that the matter has led to a huge revenue loss for the Federal Government.
Lawmakers say they are concerned that if the matter is not properly handled, it may result in the diversion of more products.
The House Committee is to report back to the House in four weeks.
The House of Representatives, on Thursday mandated its committee on banking and currency to investigate the illegal and indiscriminate automated teller machines charges by commercial banks in the country.
Speaking on the motion which was supported by most lawmakers, the House observed that the banks are not complying with the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria on ATM withdrawals.
The lawmakers also wondered why banks are not being penalised and sanctioned for these illegal practices.
The committee is expected to report back to House in four weeks.
The Senate has agreed with the House of Representatives on the decision to invite the President to brief a joint session of both chambers on the state of the economy.
The Federal Lawmakers in the Upper Chamber came to this resolution through a voice vote.
They claimed that there is a need for President Muhammadu Buhari to clarify the actual state of the economy, in view of alleged conflicting signals, coming from different officials of the administration, especially on the steps to getting Nigeria out of recession.
The lawmakers reached the resolution on Thursday after a debate that spanned two days at the floor of the Lower Chamber in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
To indicate how important the situation was, the Minority Leader of the House, Toby Okechukwu as well as some other lawmakers, Leo Ogor and Oluwole Oke, outlined the factors they believe led to the recession.
Most of them identified the Treasury Single Account policy, Foreign Exchange policy and the structure of Nigeria as some of the issues that need to be addressed.
The House of Representatives has again postponed investigations into the non-implementation of capital projects in the 2015 budget.
The Chairman, House Ad-hoc Committee on Non-Implementation of 2015 Budget, Aliyu Pategi, announced the postponement after some members questioned the absence of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance at the hearing.
Some of the lawmakers also questioned the submissions made by the different departments and agencies, saying the submissions did not address the concerns of the committee.
After putting off its investigative hearing last week, the ad-hoc committee of the House, looking into the non-implementation of the capital components of the 2015 budget were on hand to receive submissions from government agencies led by the Ministry of Finance.
The Chairman expressed the parliament’s concern over the implementation level of the budget.
The Director General of the Budget Office, Aliyu Gusau, however apologised for the inconveniences.
The Chairman then resolved that the hearing be put off till next week, even though it was made clear that the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance will be absent.
The elected members of the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has been urged by the party leadership to be agents of change at the Green Chamber.
The National Chairman of the party, John Oyegun asked the elected legislators to ensure that they help the party deliver on its promises to Nigeria. He made the call at the ongoing party retreat organised for the lawmakers in Abuja.
Other guest speakers at the forum also tasked the lawmakers on all inclusive government by giving more opportunities for the women.
Earlier, one of the contestants for the Speaker-ship of the House, Mohammed Mongonu announced his withdrawal from the race because of the unity of the party.
Agitations for who becomes the Speaker of the House and president of the Senate in the 8th Assembly has been a hot topic for discussion in the last few weeks.
The resolution of which will be one of the first huddle to be crossed by these lawmakers.
The House of Representatives in Nigeria has urged the Federal and State governments concerned to compensate the families of Dr. Stella Adadevoh and other health workers who died of the Ebola Virus Disease.
In plenary on Tuesday, a lawmaker, Olajumoke Okoya-Thomas, said that the gallant and patriotic role played by late Dr. Adadevoh and her team in curbing the spread of the disease in Nigeria deserved to be rewarded.
The house also observed a moment of silence in their honour and urged that the Nigerian government immortalises the late doctor by naming a medical institution in her honour.
Lawmakers also commended the Federal and State governments for the effective action taken to halt the spread of the disease.
Late Dr. Adadevoh played a major role in ensuring that the index patient, a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, did not leave the hospital after he tested positive for Ebola virus.
The Nigerian president had dedicated Nigeria’s Ebola-free declaration by the World Health Organization on October 20 to health workers and to Nigerians.