COVID-19: NEPC report rejected as Reps order resubmission

Beloved JohnJanuary 29, 20244 min

The Reps Public Account Committee dismissed the National Export Promotion Council (NEPC) from its investigative hearing on Monday and also charged the council to submit its report 48 hours before the date of its next reappearance.

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Account has asked the National Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to reappear before it with a properly detailed report on how it spent the N50 billion COVID-19 fund released in 2020. 

The Council appeared before the committee on Monday, January 29, 2023, for the COVID-19 intervention fund hearing, about a week after it was dismissed by the committee over its poor preparation. 

Presenting an overview of the report, the Council’s director of Finance and Account, Abayomi Akodu, disclosed that the export council received 50 billion for COVID-19 funds to cushion the impact of the pandemic on exporting communities. 

Akodu also noted that of this sum, N21 billion was used for its COVID relief plan as against the sum of N44 billion budgeted for the plan, while the rest was used to fund other projects with the approval of the Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly. 

However, he was unable to provide the corresponding documents showing details of the approval it received. 

Reacting to this, the deputy chairman of the committee, Rep Umaru Jeremiah (APC, Nasarawa) said the document provided by the council remains incomplete adding that NEPC has been unable to provide a proper breakdown of how it spent the funds released to it, and that important information needed to carry out a proper hearing was still missing from the report.  

He said, “It is clear what we are here to do, and we owe it to Nigerians to ensure that we carry out critical hearing. Now, you are making references to remediation, and those are the things we are interested in. If you are saying the National Assembly approved something for you, you have to come up with evidence to back that up. If you say a ministry approved it, we need the evidence as well. 

“We are going to send you back to put all your documents together. Make sure your report addresses all the queries of the auditor general,” he said. 

Contributing to this, a member of the committee, Rep Billy Osawaru (APC, Edo) cautioned against the late submission of reports to the committees by ministries and agencies.

“These issues of submitting documents on the same day the same day agencies appear should stop. Not just for this agency but also for any agency that wants to appear before us. This is an investigation, and it must be properly conducted. The documents must be submitted at least 48 hours before they appear before us. 

“We need to make it a policy that we will not entertain ministries and agencies who submit their report on the day they are scheduled to appear before the committee because it is causing a lot of problems,” he added. 

The Committee then resolved that the NEPC rework its submission and reappear for a hearing on a newly scheduled date that will be communicated to them. 

Beloved John

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