Nigeria: Senate Suspends Buhari’s Request to Approve N23.7 Trillion Already Spent

The Senate resolved at an executive session to set up a committee to engage relevant MDAs for details of the president’s request.

The Senate has suspended the consideration of a request by President Muhammadu Buhari to approve N23.7 trillion that has been spent.

The decision to suspend the request was a sequel to a rowdy session carried out by lawmakers who opposed the request and described it as unconstitutional.

In a letter to the Senate last week, President Muhammadu Buhari sought the lawmakers’ approval of the N23.7 trillion Ways and Means advances.

The Ways and Means are advances (or funds) from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the federal government for emergency funding of delayed receipt of fiscal deficit.

The president said the amount has been a funding option to the federal government to cater for short-term or emergency finance to fund delayed government expected cash receipt of physical deficit.

The Ways and Meansbalances as of 19 December 2022 is 22.7 trillion, ” he said in the letter. “I have approved the securitisation of the ways and means balances along the following terms – Amount, N23.7 trillion; Tenure,40 years; Moratorium on principal repayment, three years; Pricing interest rate, nine per cent.”

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the chamber was thrown into a chaotic session for minutes during the consideration of the report which was presented by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Adeola Olamilekan.

Many lawmakers who opposed the president’s request either said it was against the laws or wondered why the National Assembly was not notified when the amount was taken from the apex bank.

The chaos in the chamber prompted the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to call for a closed-door session which lasted over 30 minutes.

Upon resumption, Mr Adeola tweaked the recommendations on the report.

He recommended that the N22.7 trillion of the Ways and Means advances be stepped down for further legislative action and for the panel to be provided with the appropriate documents.

He also recommended that N819.5 billion be excised from the additional Ways and Means advances of N1 trillion to fund the supplementary budget passed earlier.

These recommendations were adopted by the lawmakers.

Mr Lawan, thereafter, announced that a special committee will be set up to engage relevant MDAs for details of the president’s request.

The committee will be chaired by the Senate Leader, Ibrahim Gobir. And members of the committees on finance, appropriations, foreign and Local debts and banking will serve as members of the special committee.

The panel is to report back on 17 January.

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