Uneven disbursement of N500 bn: Agencies still shun Senate

…as Senate vows to take tough measures

By Haruna Salami

Senate Ad-hoc Committee on uneven disbursement of loans/grants/interventions of six geo-political regions of Nigeria by Nigeria’s Development  has resolved to “take action on any of the agencies that may fail to turn up by next week”.

The Senate Ad-hoc Committee has said some MDs that were supposed to appear before it on Wednesday and Thursday, but didn’t show up without any communication risk facing tough action from the upper chamber.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Sani Musa (Niger East) lamented that the tired to find out “why they were not here” even though the secretariat has been in touch with some of them.

He disclosed that the Committee received three apologies from Bank of Industry (BOI), Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).

However, he regretted that they have no response from the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).

“When I was in the office, I had communication with CBN and they said they are having a bilateral meeting with some international agencies, and maybe, there is some reorganisations going on in NIRSAL. That was the only communication I had. There is no indication that they are coming, but I know before the end of the day or by tomorrow we should have a response on the letter sent today.

The Committee hereby resolves that only Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) have made their submissions, but only BOA has met the requirement of what they needed. “They have given us a breakdown of who the beneficiaries are and how the funds were disbursed.

“DBN is yet to give us the details that we required . What they gave us is only certificate of incorporation and memorandum and article of association, which is not what we need to know in order for us to make progress in finding out why there is tha6 uneven distribution and disbursement.

‘’The MD actually made it known to us that 41% of the total loans disbursed went to one particular state (Lagos), meaning that 59% is shared by the 35 states. This is one of the reasons this committee was set up.

Sani said in their terms of reference, “we are also asked to know how other intervention funds were shared. In the process we invited the Federal Ministry of Finance so that the minister can come and give us some highlights to know which agencies were given the funds to disburse and if they did, who are the beneficiaries?

“We also wrote to the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, because if you recall, after the COVID-19, many MDAs were given resources to share to Nigerians to augment the level of poverty that was going on.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management was here, but since we have demanded that we want to see all those documents, she has agreed that by tomorrow we will get the documents and then she will appear before the committee on Monday December 5, 2022 at 22 noon.