Securitize N7.3trn ways and means loan – Tinubu asks Senate

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has asked the Nigerian Senate to approve the securitization of the outstanding debit balance of N7.3 trillion in the consolidated revenue fund also known as Ways and Means advance.

The president sought this approval in a letter read on the floor of the Senate by Senate President Godswill Akpabio during plenary on Saturday.

The President, in his letter, said although the federal government was considering various measures to forestall the use of ways and means advances for domestic debt servicing, it has, however, become highly imperative to securitize the outstanding ways and means advance to the federal government before the end of 2023.

Tinubu said his request was in line with the Provision of Section 38 of the Central Bank Of Nigeria Act 2017, which grants temporary advances to the federal government to fill up the budget deficit.

He said data from the CBN indicates that the consolidated revenue fund stood at N7.3 trillion as of December 11 2023, largely due to domestic debt servicing, principal and interest.

Tinubu emphasized that the securitization of the ways and means will lead to the realization of several benefits, including the reduction of debt service cost.

The President added that the savings arising from the lower interest rate will reduce the deficit in the budget.

“Given the preceding, the Senate is invited to consider and approve securitization of the outstanding debit balance of N7.3 trillion in the CNRF as of December 11 2023”, the letter read.

Recall that in May 2023, the Senate approved the N22.7 trillion loans the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, extended to the federal government under its Ways and Means provision.

(Daily Post)

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N’Assembly reconvenes Friday, to pass budget Dec 30

The Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, has revealed that the National Assembly will pass the 2024 Appropriation Bill on December 30 to sustain the January-December budget cycle.

He disclosed at a session with journalists in Iyin-Ekiti, Ekiti State on Monday, saying all federal lawmakers would have to cut short their holidays to ensure the speedy passage of the 2024 Appropriation Bill.

He said, “To ensure the passage of the budget,  we abridged time to make all ministries, departments and agencies appear before the joint sitting of all the relevant committees of both the Senate and House of Representatives.

“This has already reduced the time for the budget defence process by half rather than appearing before the Senate first and House of Representatives later. The resolution has also removed the need for harmonisation. In essence, we have been able to save time.

“We have also been sitting beyond our regular sitting days. We have sat on Saturdays. We may even sit on Sunday as we are approaching another year. We only gave ourselves three days to go home and celebrate Christmas.

“We are reconvening on December 29. Our hope and determination is to pass by December 30. On January 1, 2024, Mr President will have the 2024 Appropriation Bill on his desk for assent so that its implementation can take off in earnest.”

Meanwhile, Bamidele expressed concerns about the activities of economic saboteurs who were doing everything to keep exchange rates high against the naira or trying to make the naira unavailable to the people who kept their money in banks.

According to him, the Federal Government “will, from next year, go after economic saboteurs who are making life difficult and unbearable for Nigerians.”

“The Federal Government will charge, prosecute and punish them for their acts of economic sabotage.

 “All these will take place next year. In the long run, those who mopped up the naira and dollars from the markets will face the consequences of their actions. Those who mopped up the dollars to keep commodity prices high will not escape justice.

“Those who are speculating are also on the watch list of the Federal Government. At some point, the Federal Government will have to go after them,” Bamidele said.

(Punch)

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Akpabio swears in Lalong, declares Umahi, Giadam seats vacant

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, on Wednesday, swore in a former governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, as the senator to represent Plateau South Senatorial District.

Lalong of the All Progressives Congress replaced Napoleon Bali of the Peoples Democratic Party, whose election was on November 7, 2023, nullified by the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

The court declared that Lalong was the valid winner of the February 25 senatorial poll.

On Tuesday, Lalong, who was a member of President Bola Tinubu, formally resigned as Minister of Labour Employment and Productivity to take up the senatorial slot.

He took the oath of office at about 11.57 am on Wednesday on the floor of the Senate, with the Senate President  congratulating him

Speaking soon after his inauguration, Lalong said he actually wanted to be a senator after he concluded his tenure as governor in May 2023.

 “This was my first choice, to be candid,” he said.

According to him, he opted to hold the position of a minister in the interim and on the invitation of Tinubu because he had a case he was pursuing at the courts.

Lalong promised to do his best to serve his electorate to the best of his abilities.

Also reacting to the inauguration, the National Chairman of the APC, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, described it as a moment of happiness.

“This is a moment of happiness. We are so happy that he won at the Court of Appeal. What Nigerians will expect is good legislation. As we know, the APC has the majority and will work for the prosperity of all Nigerians,”  Ganduje said.

Meanwhile, the  President of the Senate also, on Wednesday, declared the senatorial seats for Ebonyi-South and Yobe East vacant.

The Ebonyi-South seat was formerly occupied by former governor Dave Umahi, who is now the Minister of Works in Tinubu’s cabinet.

Also, the Yobe East senatorial seat became vacant after Ibrahim Giadam took up  Tinubu’s offer to serve as the Minister of Police Affairs.

Akpabio said he declared the two senatorial seats vacant in accordance with Section 68 (1)(d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

He, therefore, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to commence the process of conducting by-elections to fill up the two vacant seats.

(Punch)

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2024 budget: Revenue projection meagre – HoReps declares, summons FIRS, NNPCL, others

The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations has declared the estimated revenue in the 2024 budget as “inadequate”.

The Chairman of the Committee, Abubakar Bichi stated this on Friday during a budget defence session.

He stated that the government-owned enterprises, GEOs, have not declared sufficient revenue, adding that the revenue-generating agencies must be made to declare more.

It would be recalled that the 2024 budget was presented by President Bola Tinubu with a total expenditure of N27.5 trillion and revenue of N18 trillion.

“The declaration, we feel like it is not enough — if you consider the critical projects which have been captured in this budget. You can see a 60 km project that is worth N60 billion but you only have N1 billion in the budget, which will take 40 years to complete.

“We need to sit down with GEOs, they need to come up with more money so that we can support the President,” Bichi said.

Speaking on revenue, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu also acknowledged that the estimated revenue is too small to address the budget.

He stated that the President has directed ministers to think “outside the box” on funding projects outside the Appropriations Bill.

Bagudu said the revenue estimate of Nigeria is too poor compared to other countries with similar population sizes.

“Of the 10 most populous countries in the world, we have the smallest budget. Mexico with 120 million people have about 314 billion dollars in annual budget. Brazil which follows us in population ranking has about $700 billion federal budget.

“The only country that we are close to is Pakistan which is not resources endowed as us. But even Pakistan their federal budget for 2024 is 45 billion US dollars. In dollar terms, even at N750 exchange rate, we are about $35 billion,” he said.

The committee summoned government-owned enterprises, including Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, and others.

They are to appear in person on Monday by 10 am.

(Daily Post)

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FG to raise N298.4b from selling off assets

The Tinubu administration is set to sell off some of the country’s assets to generate N298.4 billion in revenue in 2024.

This disclosure was contained in a breakdown document of the 2024 appropriation bill currently before the National Assembly.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Solomon Adeola, released the items listed as “financing items.”

The government would embark on this move in an attempt to finance public debts as well as reduce the fiscal burden on the part of FG.

President Bola Tinubu had submitted the sum N27.5 trillion 2024 budget to the National Assembly.

However, a financial expert and budget analyst, Oluseun Onigbinde, had opined that 70 per cent of projects in Nigeria are poorly executed and do not last beyond two years.

(Daily Post)

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Hospitals accounting officers risk jail, dismissal over abuse of COVID-19 funds, say Reps

The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee probing alleged misappropriation of COVID-19 intervention funds by ministries, departments and agencies has uncovered several irregularities in the presentations made by some health institutions across the country.

This was as the committee, chaired by Bamidele Salam, of repre representing Ede North/Ede North/Egbedore/Ejigbo Federal Constituency, Osun State, said some of the alleged infractions were capable of earning the accounting officers jail terms in the nation’s correctional centres or costing them their jobs.

Following these findings, therefore, the committee rejected their presentations, describing them as cooked up even as it directed them to reappear with relevant documents to substantiate their claims.

Some of the health institutions concerned are the Federal Medical Centre, Azare, Bauchi State; Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Calabar, Cross River State; Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital, Yola formerly known as Federal Medical Centre, Yola, Adamawa State and the National Orthopedic Hospital, Dala-Kano, Kano State.

Findings by the committee revealed that the Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Azare who got N949.23m made a presentation that had a shortfall of N27m, claiming that the said amount was trapped in the Treasury Single Account.

Rejecting his submission, the Bamidele-led committee urged him to either come up with relevant documents to back up his claim or refund the N27m unfailingly.

Speaking on the development in a statement released on Sunday, Bamidele said TSA houses all accounts, adding that there was no way of knowing which particular one it was.

“So, if you have N100 million in your TSA, is it convenient to say something out of it was part of the COVID-19 money? The question is, why is the money still in your account after many years of COVID-19 intervention expenditure?” he asked.

The CMD also failed to explain the definite timeline of the contract and other matters relating to the contract, including the order from the Bureau of Public Procurement to refund the sum of N8.6m to the Federal Government due to the market survey it did.

According to the statement, a company, GMC International Limiter, which failed to execute the contract at the medical facility, is to be invited to appear before the committee just as the hospital management was directed to furnish the committee with the full details about the transaction it undertook on the intervention project.

Similarly, the Medical Director of the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Dr Bassey Edet, is set to make a fresh presentation at a date yet to be communicated to him.

The hospital also got the sum of N949.23m for intervention in the global health pandemic.

Similarly, the Medical Director of National Orthopedic Hospital Dala-Kano, Dr Nurudeen Isah, was also asked to furnish the committee with all relevant documents relating to how he managed the funds allocated to the hospital after failing to convince the committee of his expenditure.

The same applied to the Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital, Yola.

Addressing members of the committee, Mr Bamidele said, “Honourable colleagues, again this is another inconclusive interaction by the Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital, Yola. Mr Accountant, it is actually not a funny matter. I can see you laughing and smiling. Some of these infractions can actually earn you a jail term. Apart from terminating your appointment or paying a fine,  it can actually lead you to jail. It is not something to be smiling or laughing about. There is nothing funny about it.

“You have committed very grievous infractions in the administration of public funds. And that is not a joking matter. We will communicate with you on a new date for your appearance.”

For the umpteenth time, the lawmaker cautioned other MDAs not to employ delay tactics in making their presentations before the Committee even as he vowed that the assignment would go on unhindered as directed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Tajudeen Abbas.

(Punch)

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Senate passes MTEF, sets to probe tax waivers under Buhari

The Senate has resolved to probe all tax waivers by the Federal Government from 2015 to date, just as it sought cancellation of those not directly linked to non-governmental or non-profit organisations.

The Senate also ordered the deregistration of all subsidiaries to the  Nigeria Postal Service, being irregular and illegal identities and called for an investigation of the N10bn released by the Ministry of Finance for the proposed NIPOST restructuring and recapitalisation.

The Upper legislative Chamber also sought stiff punishments, including jail terms for violators, of finance laws.

The Senate resolved on Wednesday during the passage of the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

The passage of the executive communication followed its consideration and adoption of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee set up for the purpose.

The passage of the MTEF/FSP followed the consideration and adoption of the Senate Joint Committees on Finance, Appropriations, National Planning and Economic Affairs and Local and Foreign Debts on the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

The report was presented by the Chairman Senate Committee on Finance and Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Sani Musa.

It approved the new borrowings of N7.8tn, pegged the benchmark oil price for 2024 at $73.96 and oil production volume per day at 1.78 million barrels.

Other parameters approved were a GDP growth rate of 3.76 per cent,  an inflation rate of 21.40 per cent, a suggested benchmark exchange rate of N700 to $1 and a projected budget deficit of N9.04tn.

The report added, “FGN recommended spending N26tn with N16.9tn as retained revenue.

“N9tn budget deficit (including GOEs), N7.8tn in new borrowings (including borrowing from foreign and domestic sources).

“N1.3tn worth of statutory transfers, an estimated N8.2tn in debt service, N234.6bn in the sinking fund, N1.27tn in pension, gratuity and retiree benefits.

“Total recurrent (non-debt) of N10.2tn and N4.49tn as capital expenditure .”

That the Federal Government’s target-setting approach and its determination to enhance the major revenue-generating agencies’ collection efficiency will support the fiscal deficit estimate of N9tn (including GOEs) is noted and hereby approved.

“That the Federal Government should continue to enforce the implementation of the Performance Management Framework for GOEs by ensuring that they operate in a more fiscally responsible manner while reviewing their operational efficiencies and declared costs-to-income ratios;

“That the N7.8tn in new borrowings (both domestic and foreign) be supported as well, given the country’s current effective debt management strategy, which has moderated borrowing costs and decreased the amount of short-term debt in the portfolio and refinancing risk.

“That the National Assembly begin the process of amending the Fiscal

Responsibility Act (FRA, 2007) to enhance the agencies’ ability to enforce fiscal responsibility and impose sanctions on erring Corporations.

“Specifically, with regard to Sections 21 (1) and 22 (1)(2);

The National Assembly Standing Committees take prompt action to review the laws governing the activities of all revenue-generating agencies under their purview in order to identify specific sections or clauses that need to be amended in order to plug waste and increase the government’s capacity to generate revenue.

“That the Federal Government Agencies ensure deployment of ICT in the collection of all revenues by MDAs including stamp duty collection activities in order to block leakages.

“That the Budget Office of the Federation and the Ministry of Finance Budget, and National Planning re-evaluate the underlying assumptions for all Federal Government agencies’ income targets in order to confirm the veracity of those assumptions and the effects;

“The Federal Government should continuously assess the qualifications and performance of agency heads to guarantee that the government’s total income target as stated in the MTEF/FSP and the yearly budgets are consistently met with adequate sanction where necessary.

“That all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies pay for services provided by other government agencies on time and in full unless it is determined that the beneficiary agencies are statutorily exempt from such payments.

“That Ministry of Finance Incorporated examines the activities of all Government Agencies currently operating under the partial and full commercialization arrangement allowing them to compete with their

peers in the private sector, thereby making a more meaningful contribution to the Federal Government’s revenue generation drive.

“That the Bureau of Public Enterprises Act be amended to remove the clause(s) that create conflict between BPE and MOFI where MOFI should be the authorized custodian of all Federal government assets, both liquid and physical.

“That the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited should work towards reducing its cost of production and operational costs with the view of increasing available government revenue.”

(Punch)

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Step-by-Step guide to apply for Canada’s 2024-2026 immigration levels plan

The Federal Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has released a new Immigration Levels Plan which it uses to guide its operations.

The Immigration Levels Plan is released yearly to guide its operations and prospective immigrants on how to apply.

In 2023, IRCC plans to welcome more than 465,000 immigrants to Canada and  In 2024, it plans to welcome approximately 485,000 new permanent residents.

It aims to welcome an additional 500,000 immigrants in both 2025 and 2026.

In terms of sponsorship, the spousal, partner, and children programme plans to admit 82,000 individuals in 2024, and 84,000 in both 2025 and 2026.

Meanwhile, the parents and grandparents programme targets 32,000 immigrants in 2024 and 34,000 immigrants in both 2025 and 2026.

It will also admit 110,770 immigrants for its federal high-skilled programme and caregivers in 2024, and 117,500 in both 2025 and 2025.

IRCC sends out invitations to apply to the candidates with the highest scores in the pool. If you are invited to apply, you will have 60 days to submit your application.

Below is a step-by-step guide for prospective immigrants:

1. Find out if you are eligible for the Express Entry programs by answering a few questions to ensure you meet the minimum requirements.

2. If eligible, submit your profile and get ranked in the Express Entry pool using the Comprehensive Ranking System.

3. Prepare documents such as passport/travel documents, language test results, proof of Canadian education, proof of funds, police certificates, medical exams, and birth certificates. These documents will be required for your application. Upload copies of the documents used for your profile.

4. Complete your Express Entry profile with accurate information about yourself. Once in the pool, you’ll receive a CRS score. Note that being in the pool doesn’t guarantee an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

5. Candidates with the highest scores in the pool will receive invitations to apply from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. If invited, you have 60 days to submit your application for permanent residence.

(Punch)

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No going back on strike – PASAN

The Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria has given details about why it met with the Senate President, GodsWill Akpabio, and the leadership of the Red Chamber on Thursday regarding its ongoing nationwide strike.

The National President of the union, Mohammed Usman, while speaking with our correspondent in Abuja said the legislative workers would not back down on their strike actions if the governors refused to grant financial autonomy to state assemblies.

Two weeks ago, the legislative workers across the 36 states and the National Assembly had vowed to shut down operations over the failure of state governors to comply with the implementation of financial autonomy for state assemblies in line with the 1999 Constitution.

In separate letters sent to the Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum; the Chairman, Forum of Speakers, and the Department of State Services, the workers explained that they had earlier issued a 21-day warning strike.

On Monday, the Sokoto, Nasarawa, Katsina, Abia, Anambra and Jigawa chapters of the association shut down the houses of assembly in their respective states.

The union had given state governments a 21-day ultimatum and further extended it by one week.

In May 2020, former President, Major General Muhammad Buhari (retd.) signed an executive order granting financial autonomy to the legislature and judiciary across the 36 states of the country.

However, the former president suspended the gazetting of the order after a pushback from governors.

In the 2022 constitution amendment, some of the bills that scaled through included financial autonomy for state legislature and judiciary.

Usman explained that they met with Akpabio to find a lasting solution to the issues.

He said, “But if we don’t get a solution, we are not backing down. The state assemblies are still under lock, and except if we have a response like a committee set up to look into the issue and implementations begin, we are not backing down.

“We met with the Senate President to express our grievances and to make him understand some of our demands. These are issues that have to do with the constitution.”

The Financial Autonomy Bill states that all finances belonging to the State House of Assembly and judiciary “Should be paid directly into the accounts of the State House of Assembly account directly from the Accountant General, not through the office of the governors,” he noted.

The PASAN President added, “I don’t know why till now, nothing has been done and the governors and the Accountant General have refused to oblige to that section of the Constitution.

“These things are affecting us, beyond the effect it has on the legislators, we as members of the State House of Assemblies are hugely affected by the refusal of the governors to implement this aspect of the Constitution.”

The PASAN President lamented that their members often stay between four to five months before being paid.

(Punch)

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Navy confirms delivery, justifies purchase of N5bn yacht as N’Assembly opposes

Amid the raging debate on the N5bn presidential yacht to be procured by the Federal Government, as captured in the 2023 supplementary budget submitted to the National Assembly, the Nigerian Navy on Friday affirmed that it had taken delivery of the yacht.

The Director of Information, Nigerian Navy, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, in an interview with one of our correspondents on Friday, stated that the yacht had been in the country since June, 2023. He explained that the service made a “long overdue request” for the replacement of the defunct presidential yacht during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari. He stressed that the yacht was for training.

Meanwhile, indications have emerged that the payment for the yacht may suffer delay, given the opposition by the two chambers of the National Assembly, in which case the federal lawmakers refused to approve the payment for the yacht. Thus, while the yacht has been delivered to the country, how the government would raise money for it remains to be seen in the coming days and months.

Earlier on Friday, the Senate Chief Whip, Ali Ndume, who represents Borno South, clarified during an interview on Arise TV that the presidential yacht had been signed and delivered before the public outcry, even though it had not been paid for. “The deal for the yacht has been agreed, signed, and delivered but not paid for,” he noted.

Ndume noted that the Senate queried the amount budgeted for the yacht, but that it was signed for a dollar rate, and that the new rate was no longer favourable. He pointed out that the budget was predicated on N435, but that the rate was now over N800/dollar.

He said the navy also clarified that it was not a new budget, and that even the House of Representatives moved the budgeted sum to the Student Loan.

Ndume explained that the N5bn earmarked for the yacht was included in the supplementary budget because it had yet to be paid for. “When we saw that amount, we queried it. When we asked those questions, the navy explained that this was not a new item. I know the President is not a luxurious person, he won’t go for that.”

Navy justifies purchase

As many Nigerians hoped that the procurement would be halted on account of widespread criticism, owing to the current economic situation, the revelation on Friday that it had been delivered to the country introduced a new twist to the issue.

About N5bn had been allocated to the yacht in the N2.1trn supplementary budget transmitted by President Bola Tinubu to the National Assembly after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Monday.

But speaking on the issue in the interview with Saturday PUNCH on Friday, the naval spokesperson said, “It was delivered in June 2023. We have not used it yet.”

When asked if the inability to pay for the yacht was responsible for the delay in using it, he stated, “Correct. It’s tied to the non-payment.”

This implies that until the payment is made, the navy may not be able to use it for its operational activities.

Amid heavy criticisms that had greeted the procurement, the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, had said the yacht was not for Tinubu’s personal use.

He had stated, “What was named as Presidential Yacht in the budget is an operational naval boat with specialised security gadgets suitable for high-profile operational inspection and not for the use of the President.”

The navy during an interview with our correspondent on Thursday also confirmed the statement by the presidency, stressing that the navy, and not Tinubu requested for the yacht. He had said, “Under the immediate past administration, a long overdue request was made for a Presidential yacht to replace MV AMARIA, the defunct Presidential yacht. It was also to be used for the Presidential Fleet Review 2023 that was held in May this year.”

Senate clarifies position

Meanwhile, there are fresh concerns that payment for the yacht may suffer delay given the opposition to the payment by the two chambers of the National Assembly. By constitutional provisions, the procurement of items by the government is subject to legislative approval.

Therefore, as the federal lawmakers have expunged the payment for the yacht from the supplementary budget, it might create a crisis for the payment of the yacht and when it can be put to use.

Against widespread reports that the Senate approved the payment while the House of Representatives on the other hand expunged the item and added it to the money budgeted for the student loan, indications emerged on Friday that the Senate also did not approve the payment.

The Senate said it aligned with the House of Representatives on the reallocation of the N5.095bn appropriated for the presidential yacht to be added to the student loan.

The National Assembly had on Thursday approved the supplementary budget.

While the Senate was silent on the N5bn proposed for the yacht in the budget, the House of Representatives cancelled the allocation and added it to the student loan.

Clarifying the position of the Red Chamber, the Senate Spokesperson, Yemi Adaramodu, noted that the report was co-signed by both the chairmen of appropriation for both Senate and House of Representatives.

He noted that both the Chairman, Senate committee on Appropriation, Senator Solomon Adeola, and the chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Abubakar Bichi, had agreed on moving the yacht allocation to the students’ loan laid before the lawmakers.

Adaramodu stated, “It was an agreement that was signed by both chambers. The fact that the Senate didn’t expressly mention it doesn’t mean that we were not on the same page.

“One chamber cannot singlehandedly sign a supplementary budget, the paper presented at the Senate was the same presented at the House. Both chairmen consolidated their reports and presented it at the plenary.

“As the chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, I can tell you that we didn’t approve any money for the presidential yacht.”

Adaramodu added. “Our job as lawmakers is to appropriate and have oversight of government activities.”

Meanwhile, the Senate has summoned an emergency sitting.

The meeting which was communicated on Friday night was initially scheduled for Saturday morning but was shifted to Monday.

According to Adaramodu, the meeting was fixed to adopt the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday plenary.

He said, “The plenary has been shifted to Monday. We had initially fixed Saturday but we discovered that many senators had gone to be with their constituents. The session is just to adopt the votes and proceedings of Thursday Plenary.

“We were behind time on Thursday based on various committee meetings, so we couldn’t adopt the votes and proceedings. That’s what we want to do on Monday. If we don’t adopt the votes and proceedings, all that we did cannot be filed and documented.”

Reps kick

The House of Representatives has reacted to the continued debate on the yacht, saying there cannot be procurement without legislative approval. It noted that if it was done, it would amount to nullity.

The House spokesman and Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Akin Rotimi, said the House scrapped it and moved the N5bn allocated for it to fund the proposed student loan scheme.

He said Ndume missed the point while speaking on the issue.

He stated in an interview with Saturday PUNCH on Friday, “The concept of anticipatory approval is unknown to Nigeria’s constitutional jurisprudence. Sections 80 to 83 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is clear about the fact that the only authorising entity for government expenditure is the National Assembly.

“Any procurement made without legislative authorisation is unconstitutional, null and void, and goes against the spirit and letter of our constitution.”

He added that Ndume’s claim was unknown to the House as the Committee Chairman on Navy who headed the same Committee in the ninth Assembly was not aware of the procurement alluded to by Ndume.

He added, “I can confirm that the chairman of the House Committee on Navy, who held the same position in the previous Assembly, is not aware of this alleged procurement, and has promised to look into it.”

(Punch)

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