Senate issues seven-day ultimatum to Finance Minister over N100bn gas project

Sharon EboesomiFebruary 8, 20243 min

The Senate made this request in response to the PCNG’s plans to release an additional N130 billion to an unidentified number of companies.

Senate gives Edun seven days ultimatum on N100bn gas project
Wale Edun

The Finance Minister, Wale Edun, has been given a seven-day ultimatum by the Senate Committee on Gas to present a detailed account regarding the award and payment of over N100 billion to companies managing the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas projects, which are purportedly executed in violation of the Public Procurement Act of 2017.

The Gas Committee had earlier warned that using public funds for the aforementioned gas infrastructure development projects without the National Assembly’s approval would amount to extra-budgetary expenditure and a gross violation of the Public Procurement Act.

Prior to this, the committee had applauded President Bola Tinubu for his CNG initiatives, but it also requested that he promptly submit a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to fund the expenditures.

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A group known as the “Good Governance and Transparency Front” filed a new petition, accusing the chairman of the  Steering Committee of Presidential CNG Initiative of approving the disbursement of funds to cronies without adhering to due process and the Public Procurement Act, 2007, and this led to the finance minister being asked to provide the committee with details of the award and disbursement of over N100 billion.

The organisation also claimed in the letter to the committee that despite the N100 billion payment, the PCNGI failed to make progress because the PCNG refused to involve specialists in gas development in the project’s implementation.

The Chairman of the committee, Agom Jarigbe (PDP, Cross River North), in a letter dated January 9 and made available to journalists on Wednesday, requested the minister to forward to the committee, a comprehensive record of the award and disbursement of over N100bn and a list of companies engaged in the handling of the project.

The letter read, “I am writing to request for comprehensive brief regarding the utilisation of the sum of N100bn allocated by the Federal Government for the development of gas infrastructure aimed at providing Compressed Natural Gas to Nigerians as an alternative to fossil fuels.

“The committee is seeking detailed information on the process followed in the award and disbursement of funds to the companies benefiting from the allocation. I would appreciate insight into the compliance of these processes with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007.

“Specifically, the committee is interested in understanding the steps taken in the opening of bids, the qualification criteria applied, and the subsequent awarding of contracts to the selected companies. Transparency and adherence to due process are crucial aspects of ensuring public trust and accountability in such initiatives.”

STAR Check: Nigerians, particularly, constituents of Cross River North district, can keep tabs on the legislative performance of Sen. Jarigbe throughout the 10th senate here.

Sharon Eboesomi

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