Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed in subsidy payment mess

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Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed is set to appear before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating oil subsidy payments with all records of subsidy payments the Federal Government made between 2013 and 2022.

Committee Chairman Ibrahim Aliyu issued the summons when the Director of Home Finance in the ministry appeared before the committee.

The chairman said the minister should furnish the committee with details of all public funds used for subsidy payment, unfailingly on August 16, 2022.

He expressed disappointment over the failure of Mrs Ahmed and other government agencies invited to appear before the committee.

Aliyu listed some of the agencies that failed to send communications to the committee as the Department of State Services (DSS), the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF), among others.

The lawmaker, who insisted that the investigation was not aimed at witch-hunting anybody, said: “This committee requested from you to know the total amount released from the Consolidated Revenue Account as subsidy payments from January 2013 to date.

“The total amount released from other accounts, other than the Consolidated Revenue Account, to subsidy payments from January 2013 to date; a breakdown of beneficiaries; companies that enjoyed releases from Consolidated Revenue Account and other revenue accounts as subsidy payments; identify each beneficiary with the amount sent to them month-by-month covering the period from January 2013 to date.

“All correspondences between the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) regarding subsidy payments from January 2013 to date.

“Evidence of lodgment of forex into Consolidated Revenue Account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), now Limited, as revenue from January 2013 to date.

“Outstanding deposits expected from the NNPC to the Consolidated Revenue Account indicating periods, years and dates.

“Statement of account of all bank documents, evidence of NNPC and its affiliates, subsidiaries transfer of funds to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in line with the directives of the President and Commander-in-Chief; statement of accounts operated by the NNPC and its subsidiaries under TSA regime.

“We are giving the Minister of Finance one week to appear before this committee and make presentations.”

“List of commercial bank accounts operated by the NNPC and its subsidiaries before the advent of the TSA; balance of forex yet to be transferred to TSA by the NNPC and its subsidiaries,” he said.

The Director, Steven Oko, asked for more time to enable the ministry to collate the needed information.

He was not directed to make any submission before the committee but to ask for more time.

“The ministry holds the House in very high esteem. However, I was not sent here to make any presentation or submission but to ask for an extension of time to enable us to put all documents needed for our presentation and submission.

“I sincerely apologise, on behalf of the ministry, for not sending a letter of authorisation for me to represent the ministry,” he said.

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