News

February 28, 2024

Senate begins probe of over N30trn Ways & Means

Senate

ABUJA- THE Senate has begun a probe into the payment of over N30 trillion Ways and Means secured from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN by the immediate past government in the last 10 years.

Consequently, the Senate has set up an ad hoc committee to carry out a holistic investigation into the matter and report at plenary in four weeks.

The committee to probe the humongous N30 trillion Ways and Means, which was released as loan to the federal government during the former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was constituted by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Jibrin Barau, APC, Kano North, who presided over part of yesterday’s plenary.

The committee, which is chaired by Senator Jibrin Isah, APC, Kogi East, has Senators Asuquo Ekpenyong, APC, Cross River South; Mohammed Tahir Monguno, APC, Borno North; Victor Umeh, LP, Anambra Central and Olamilekan Adeola, APC, Ogun West as members.

Others are Senators Sani Musa, APC, Niger East; Aliyu Wadada, SDP, Nasarawa; Abdul Ningi, PDP, Bauchi Central and Ipalibo Banigo Harry, PDP, Rivers West.

The constitution of the committee yesterday was sequel to an adopted resolution penultimte Tuesday, of the need to probe the ‘Ways and Means’ of the former President Buhari’s administration.

Ways and Means are loans or advances by the CBN to the federal government to enable it cater for short-term or emergency finance to fund delayed government expected cash receipt of fiscal deficits.

However, last week’s debate on ‘Ways and Means’ was thrown into confusion when the motion was raised without details of how the fund was spent, a development that infuriated Senator Ali Ndume, APC, Borno South, who insisted that details of ‘Ways and Means’ must be provided according to parliamentary rules.

In his remarks before announcing the membership of the committee, the Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, who lamented alleged reckless spending that had caused inflation in the country, said Ways and Means would continue to be recorded in the balance sheet of the Central Bank of Nigeria until it was completely liquidated, tasking the committee to do a thorough job, to recover the fund.

“According to statistics, broad money supply, which is a key parameter for key inflationary trends, increased from N78.3 to 78.4 trillion in 2023, the highest ever recorded in Nigeria.

‘’The Central Bank of Nigeria’s Ways and Means which provides direct lending to the Federal Government of Nigeria causes unprecedented liquidity in the economy and the current inflationary pressure that we are experiencing.

“The financial obligation to the CBN now stands at N30 trillion. The inability to repay this temporary accommodation by the federal government led to the regularization of a 40-year loan at 9 per cent interest per annum.

“By implication, this debt will appear in the balance sheet of CBN for the next 40 years until liquidated. It is, therefore, imperative to interrogate the loans of the N30 trillion Ways and Means with a possibility of recovering whatever possible.”