Federal projects: Senate’s approval of N488.7bn for states raises dust

Controversies have continued to trail the Senate’s approval of N488.7bn as reimbursements to states for federal projects they executed across the country.
The senators had, before proceeding on their annual recess in July, approved the money for 21 states through a promissory note programme requested by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Daily Trust reports that the approval was sequel to the consideration and adoption of the report of an ad hoc committee chaired by Senator Francis Alimikhena (APC, Edo).
The same committee had on June 7 this year recommended that N396bn be approved for the states. The recommendation was unanimously approved at the plenary presided over by the Senate President Bukola Saraki.
However, the Senate rescinded the earlier approval a month later when a new report was considered with an increase of N92bn, Daily Trust reports.
Ogun and Oyo states, which were not in the first approval, were allocated N59.2bn and N13.4bn respectively. Also, in the new approval, Zamfara State which was earlier allocated N39.9bn got N60bn.
A review of the approval showed that Lagos got the highest with N114bn. It was followed by Akwa Ibom with N78.7bn. Niger State got the least with N333.8m.
A further review showed that Adamawa got N4.2bn, Kwara N11.2bn, Plateau N12.1bn, Jigawa N10.7bn, Gombe N6.9bn, Ondo N4.3bn, Ekiti N11.6bn, Edo N10.4bn and Osun N13.2bn.
Others are Ebonyi N15.4bn, Kano N4.4bn, Enugu N13.5bn, Benue N3bn, Imo N2.8bn, and Anambra N37.9bn.
The panel said some states were not included in the first report as a result of incomplete document and failure to appear before it.
“The affected states were later invited to present the justification of projects executed in their states on behalf of the Federal Government. This is in line with the Senate determination in ensuring that justice and fair hearing is extended to all,” the panel said.
However, even the committee observed that the claims by the states were bogus, Daily Trust reports.
It said some states that appeared before it were faced with the challenge “of having an incomplete document to justify their outstanding claims.”
“States like Kwara, Adamawa and Lagos embarked on the highway project execution as far back as 2004, while others followed thereafter,” the committee said.
Why I made request – Buhari
President Buhari said he made the request for the establishment of the promissory note programme and a bond issuance to settle inherited local debts and contractual obligations.
In a letter dated March 8, this year, Buhari conveyed the resolution of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), requesting the National Assembly to pass a bill to effect the promissory note and bond.

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