NSIP probe not about Osinbajo, say Reps

Filed Under: news

On: August 12, 2020

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Presides Over NEC Meeting | The ...
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo

• Lawmakers grill FIRS, BPE, others over audit queries

Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

The House of Representatives has stated that that its investigation of the National Social Investment Programmes of the Federal Government is not about the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Wole Oke, stated this on Tuesday in Abuja made this known when the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Olusola Idowu, appeared before the panel.

The committee had last week summoned the immediate past Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun; the incumbent Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; and Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, to account for a total sum of N1.7tn appropriated for the implementation of the NSIP from 2016 to September 2019.

The committee had also summoned include incumbent and former permanent secretaries and desk officers involved in the implementation of the NSIPs in both the ministries and the National Social Investment Office.

On Tuesday, Oke noted that the House was aware that the Office the Vice President was only responsible for policy formulation and monitoring of the programme.

Oke said, “By our records, the Office of the Vice President is responsible for policy formulation and monitoring of the National Social Investment Programmes.

“We have it on record that the Ministry of Budget and National Planning handled all issues of procurement from 2016 to September 2019 when the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs was created.

“A total of N1.79tn was budgeted for the programme, for which over N600m was expended.”

He added, “Our interest now is on the Home Grown School Feeding Programme and that is what the ministry is to give us records of procurement.

“We are not available for anybody to use to malign anybody. We want to put that on record that we are not investigating the office of the Vice President.”

Oke, however, asked the Permanent Secretary and her team to meet a three-man sub-committee set up to reconcile the ministry’s audit queries and report back.

While defending its 2016 query before the committee, the FIRS informed the lawmakers that it made tax refund of over N28.4bn as tax refund to beneficiaries between 2014 and 2016.

The Coordinating Director of FIRS, Innocent Ohagwa, said this while responding to an audit query issued by the Auditor General of the Federation, that N10bn and N12bn were supposedly paid out as tax refund in 2014 and 2015 respectively without evidence.

The Auditor-General had demanded a comprehensive list of beneficiaries or the money be refunded to the Consolidated Revenue Fund and evidence made available.

Oke consequently asked FIRS to furnish the committee with details of the tax computation by the service, details of the refund and the beneficiaries, adding that the lawmakers needed to find out the basis for the refund and whether there was over taxation in the first place.

The lawmaker noted that the FIRS had about 116 queries from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation to respond to, for the period between 2015 and 2017, adding that the committee has set up sub-committees to study their presentations and make recommendation.

Also, appearing before the committee, the Bureau for Public Enterprises dismissed claims by the Presidential Investigative Committee on the Sale of Government Landed Property that it was responsible for the sale of some government landed property.

The Director-General of BPE, Alex Oko, stated that the agency was not responsible for the sale of government landed property, but the privatisation of government owned enterprises, while it transferred the proceeds to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Umar Shekarau, told the committee that the loan of N105bn granted to the Bank of Industry, which was converted to equity, was not in contention, as there were share certificates issued to the Federal Ministry of Finance to prove that the money was not missing.

In a related development, the Deputy Comptroller General, Finance and Account, Nigeria Customs Service, Sadiq Ibrahim, while defending the alleged under remittance of pension contribution by the NCS, explained that before the advent of Pension Fund Administrators, the service was paying their contribution directly to the National Pension Commission.

Ibrahim, however, said all arrears of contributions from the service had been paid to the PFAs, adding that the paucity of funds necessitated the none payment at the initial stage.MMA2 protest: Bi-Courtney pays workers placed on redundancy.


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