HomeNewsSenate Probes Buhari Govt's N30tr Loan, Seeks Economic Transparency

Senate Probes Buhari Govt’s N30tr Loan, Seeks Economic Transparency

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In a significant move, the Nigerian Senate initiated a comprehensive investigation into the N30 trillion ‘Ways and Means’ facility extended to the Federal Government during President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure. This substantial financial mechanism, essentially an overdraft from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was designed to address the nation’s emergency financial needs with executive approval, pending parliamentary ratification. The formation of an ad hoc committee, led by Senator Jibrin Isah from Kogi East, underscores the legislative body’s commitment to scrutinize this enormous financial transaction and its implications on the country’s fiscal health.

The decision to probe the ‘Ways and Means’ facility was spurred by discussions in the Senate that highlighted a lack of detailed accounting on the expenditure of these funds. This lack of transparency led to heated debates among senators, emphasizing the necessity of this investigation to uphold parliamentary rules and ensure fiscal responsibility. Deputy Senate President Jibrin Barau, expressing concern over the alleged reckless spending associated with this facility, remarked on its contribution to the country’s inflationary pressures. He pointed out the surge in broad money supply to a record N78.4 trillion in 2023, attributing part of the inflationary trend to the liquidity injected by the CBN’s direct lending.

The appointed committee, comprising distinguished senators including Ekpeyong Asuquo, Mohammed Tahir Monguno, Victor Umeh, Olamilekan Adeola, Sani Mohammed Musa, Aliyu Wadada, Abdul Ningi, and Ipalibo Banigo Harry, has been tasked with a thorough investigation to not only understand the deployment of these funds but also to explore avenues for recovery. The Senate has set a four-week deadline for the committee to report its findings, anticipating a legislative debate that could lead to significant fiscal reforms.

Parallel to this inquiry, the Senate has also established another ad hoc committee to delve into allegations of corruption and inefficiency at two of Nigeria’s key industrial establishments: the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and the National Iron Ore Mining Company, spanning activities from 2008 to the present. This move, championed by Senator Natasha Akpoti of Kogi State, is driven by concerns over Nigeria’s hefty annual steel import bill of approximately $3.3 billion, despite the country’s rich ore resources. The investigation aims to engage various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), along with critical stakeholders in the steel sector, to compile a comprehensive report that could pave the way for revitalizing these vital industrial assets.

Furthermore, the Senate is contemplating significant amendments to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s governance structure, including a proposal to limit the tenure of its governor to six years. This bill, introduced by Senator Tokunbo Abiru of Lagos East, seeks to address challenges in monetary policy implementation amidst fiscal dominance and the evolving financial landscape. The proposed legislative changes, which also include a single, non-renewable term of six years for deputy governors, aim to enhance the CBN’s capacity to fulfill its primary objective of maintaining monetary and price stability, thereby supporting the government’s economic growth ambitions.

As these legislative inquiries and proposed amendments unfold, they signify a robust effort by the Nigerian Senate to enforce accountability, enhance operational efficiency in key sectors, and strengthen the institutional framework of the country’s central banking system. These initiatives reflect a broader commitment to addressing the structural issues facing Nigeria’s economy, with the potential to induce significant policy reforms that could have far-reaching implications for the nation’s fiscal stability and industrial development.

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