By Haruna Salami
The Managing Director, Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, FIIRO, Dr. Agnes Yemisi Asegra has assured the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, that relevant documents to clarify the discrepancy between the released sum of N60 million for a N49 million contract for Cassava processing project in 2019 budget, would be provided.
This followed the decision of the Senate Committee, to constitute an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the construction of Nkalagu cassava processing plant in Ebonyi state.
Specifically, the FIIRO boss had presented document showing contract sum of N49 million with released sum of N60 million in 2019.
Irked by the variation in figures between contract and released sums, Chairman of the committee, Senator Lilian Ekwunife constituted a 3-man Ad-hoc committe led by Senator Obinna Ogba to investigate and report back to the committee on the discrepancy.
Speaking to journalists after the investigative hearing, Asegra said “the appropriation on that project for the year 2019 is N60 million”, adding that “that N60 million has a breakdown of fabrication equipment, office equipment and office furniture, but there was a memo that said we should not buy office equipment and office furniture in 2019.
“So, we took the component of the fabrication equipment and awarded it at N49 million in order not to contravene the memo. The balance of N11 million was not dispensed, it is in Treasury Single Account, TSA of the federal government”, promising to forward all the relevant documents by next week.
The Ad-hoc Committe was mandated to determine date of the award of the contract and how much has been paid to contractors.
Senator Ekwunife observed that the mandate of FIIRO is to provide technology for indigenous companies, adding “this your submission is deceitful”.
“We are setting up Ad-hoc Committe to be chaired by Senator Obinna Ogba”.
“You will give us all the details of the project, the date of the award from beginning, how much has been paid and the balance”, Ekwunife said.