From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Following the controversy surrounding the spending of N130 billion 2022 Sukuk fund, Federal Government has given a detailed explanation of how it disbursed the fund, saying that so far, it has expended a total of N220 billion on various projects.
The N220 billion, it said, was the payment of executed works in the 2021 Sukuk funding completed in April, 2023.
“Prior to the presentation of the 2022 Sukuk cheque, the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, was executing the 2021 Sukuk funding in the sum of N210.565 billion for the construction of seventy-one projects in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and N10.435 billion for execution of five highway projects by the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs which were transferred to the Works and Housing Ministry.
“The disbursement for payment of executed works in the 2021 Sukuk funding in the total sum of N220.00 billion was completed in April, 2023. It is important to note that the disbursement of the 2022 Sukuk could not be run concurrently with that of the 2021 Sukuk as a matter of principle.
According to Federal Government, having completed the 2021 payments, it commenced the collation and submission of milestones to be achieved by contractors under the 2022 funding.
“Upon completion of the payments from the 2021 Sukuk funding, Ministry of Works and Housing commenced the collation and submission of milestones to be achieved by contractors under the 2022 funding. The provision of milestones by the contractors, evaluation and approval by the ministry and final no objection by the Debt Management Office (DMO) is a necessary condition for the disbursement of Sukuk funds.
“These processes take time and must be completed before any disbursement can be carried out.
On completion of this process early May 2023 and in line with the commitment of the ministry for payment of works executed according to the approved milestones, the first tranche drawdown from the 2022 in the sum of N19.605 billion was forwarded to DMO. This will undergo a process of verification by consultants engaged by the Debt Management Office before payments can be approved and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, requested to release the funds for payment to the contractors. Subsequent tranches would be forwarded to the DMO as the contractors execute works in line with the approved milestones and the works are verified, certified approved accordingly until the N130 billion is fully accessed” FG said.