…Senate to debate Buhari’s bond request
Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives yesterday resolved to probe the planned sale of Federal Government shares in the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG).
The House, which resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to undertake the exercise, also urged the executive arm of government to suspend the planned sale of government equity in NLNG pending the outcome of its investigation.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Randolph Brown at yesterday’s plenary. Leading debate on the motion, Brown said if the Federal Government shares in the company are sold, it would lead to the loss of the jobs by Nigerians working in company.
Consequently, the lawmaker urged the government to explore other options of raising funds instead of selling its stake in NLNG.
Brown argued that, “it is not in any conventional economic sense for any nation to resort to selling off its assets during challenging times, as this exhibits leadership laxity and policy myopia.”
The House also at yesterday’s plenary directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to henceforth submit a copy of its audited annual account to the National Assembly.
This was sequel to a motion by Kingsley Chinda, who in his lead debate, said the CBN has not been complying with the extant law that requires it to submit its financial report to the parliament annually.
According to him, “the apparent breach of the CBN Act, which constitutes an illegality should not be allowed to stand.
Meanwhile the Senate on Wednesday resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to deliberate on President
Muhammadu Buhari’s request on bond issuance to civil servants as well as contractors.
The president had in March written to the Senate seeking the establishment of a promissory note programme and a bond issuance approval to settle inherited local debts and contractual obligations.
In the letter, Mr Buhari explained the obligations which he believed establishment of the promissory note and bond issuance will clear.
According to him, the long standing obligations inherited by his administration include: a) Unpaid obligations to pensioners, salaries and promotional arrears of civil servants.
b) Obligation to petroleum marketers. c) Contractors and suppliers debt. d) Unpaid power bills and obligation from tariffs reversal in 2014. e) Export expansion grant IMBET.
f) Judgement debt; and g) Refunds to state government for projects undertaken on behalf of federal government.
The Senate leader, Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North), who read out the executive communication earlier, suggested that the Senate refers the matter to the appropriate committee to deliberate upon but was countered by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu (PDP, Enugu), who preferred that an ad-hoc committee be set up.
“People are depending on our approval of these funds. There are a number of issues involved. Some are the pensions, some have to do with salaries, subsidy and then some are for payment to states.
“In view of the multi-dimension of this and the issue of the controversy regarding borrowing money to pay for recurrent item, which is forbidden under the Fiscal Responsibility Act, I think we should set up an appropriate ad-hoc committee to be able to look at these together and advise the Senate,” he said.