At resumption of the Senate for 2023 legislative year, Senate considers Buhari’s request for Ways and Means approval. Lawmakers read riot act to the Executive on delay in response to parliamentary committee set up for interface on the N27.3trillion Ways and Means Restructuring
The Senate on Tuesday directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) to, within three days, supply the required information on N23.7trillion Ways and Means Restructuring forwarded to it by President Muhammadu Buhari in December 2022.
It specifically warned that the executive arm of government should do the needful in view of the Presidential and National Assembly elections coming up next month, as it will adjourn plenary this week or latest, by Tuesday next week for practical participation in the campaigns.
This followed a request for additional three days made by Senate Leader, Ibrahim Gobir (APC, Sokoto East), who chairs the Special Committee set up to interface with the Finance Minister and CBN Governor for details on the N27.3trillion Ways and Means Restructuring.
Senator Gobir, who relied on Order 40 of the Senate Standing rules under personal explanation, told the Senate that series of attempts made by the Committee from 28th December 2022 to Tuesday, 17th January 2023 to meet the Finance Minister and CBN Governor for the required details proved abortive.
READ ALSO: Buhari writes Senate, seeks restructure of N23.7trn Ways and Means Advances
In his words: “As a Special Committee for urgent and thorough assignment, we hit the ground running immediately after composition on 28th of December last year. For required details on the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means Restructuring, six vital questions were raised, five for the CBN governor and one for the Finance Minister, but their trips abroad prevented us from asking them the questions
Now that they are around, we request the Senate to give us additional three days for thorough work on the assignment and submission of the report.”
Consequently, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his submission, stated that the Ways and Means request from the President is a very serious issue that must not be taken with levity by all those concerned. He further said that the Senate is ready to approve the request after thorough scrutiny, which can only be done if relevant officials from the executive arm of government provide the required details.
READ ALSO: Senate suspends consideration of Buhari’s N23.7trn ‘Ways and Means’ request
“We must have the necessary information for passage of the N22.7 trillion request, and time is not on our side in the Senate now in view of coming general elections.
If there is a need for the Senate to sit up to Friday this week for thorough consideration and passage of the request, it will be done but the affected officials from the executive must also expedite action on provision of the required information as regards documents authorising approval and disbursement of the monies totalling N22.7trillion,” he said.
President Buhari had, in separate letters to both Chambers of the National Assembly on December 21, 2022, sought approval for a restructuring of the N23.7 trillion advance.
“The Ways and Means Advance by the Central Bank of Nigeria, to the federal government 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 fiscal deficit. The Ways and Means balance, as of 19th December 2022, is N23,719,703,774,306.90.
.I have approved the securitization 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 9%.
Your concurrence and approval is sought to allow for the implementation of same.”
Attempts made by the Senate to approve the request during the passage of the N21.83 trillion 2023 budget on the 28th of December last year were unsuccessful. The Senate, therefore, set up a committee headed by Senator Gobir to liaise with the Executive for necessary information.