Committee gets more time as Senate deepens N30trn Ways and Means probe

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The Nigerian Senate is deepening probe into a total sum of N30 trillion Ways and Means facilities granted the Federal Government at different times from 2014 to 2023 by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

The Ad-hoc Committee headed by Senator Jibrin Isah, which has since been probing the Ways and Means, has been granted two more weeks by the Senate to complete the assignment.

Gatekeeper recalled that the Ad-hoc Committee was inaugurated in March this year by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio.

Barely three months after, the Committee informed the Senate “that required vital information for the probe exercise were still being expected from some of the relevant agencies involved in the spending of the monetary facilities”.

In a telephone conversation with journalists in Abuja on Saturday, Jibrin, who doubles as Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs and Excise Duties, said the two months extension granted the Committee by the Senate on Thursday last week would help to further intensify the probe exercise.

“Most of the relevant agencies have been contacted and their documents being thoroughly scrutinized as regards spending of the disbursement gotten from the Ways and Means.

“Being a very sensitive national assignment, the committee is carrying out very thorough investigation devoid of rushing into conclusion.

“More pressures would now be mounted on few of the agencies that have not adequately responded to vital information seeking requests forwarded to them, failure of which would lead to summoning of heads of such agencies.

“The new timeframe given for the investigation by the Senate will surely make the committee come up with a thoroughly investigative report in September this year on how the N30 trillion Ways and Means were disbursed within the period under review, and for what purposes they were expended,” he said.

Ways and Means is a loan facility through which the Central Bank of Nigeria finances the Federal Government’s budget shortfalls.

This manner of financing government deficits usually results in macroeconomic instability, leading to inflation and high exchange rates because of the excess liquidity injected into the economy.

The CBN law limits advances under Ways and Means to five per cent of the previous year’s revenue, but this has been mostly breached over the years.

As a way of remedying the situation, CBN Governor Olayemi Cardoso declared in February this year that the bank would no longer grant Ways and Means advances to the government until all outstanding debts are refunded.

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