A former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; the incumbent Minister, Zainab Ahmed; and her counterpart at the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq; have all been summoned by the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, to account for a total sum of N1.7 trillion, appropriated for the implementation of the National Social Investment Programme, NSIP, from 2016 to September 2019,
The Committee also summoned the incumbent and former Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries, and the Desk Officers involved in the implementation of the NSIP, in both the Ministries and the National Social Investment Office.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Wole Oke, issued the summons at an investigative hearing on the audit queries on the NSIP, by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, alleging that the Special Assistant to the President on Home School Feeding Programme, Dotun Adebayo, and other Desk Officers, provided misleading information on the NSIP account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, in his presentation, however, disclosed that out of the N1.7 trillion appropriated for the NSIP, within the four-year period, only N619.142 billion was released, and N560.914 billion utilised.
According to him, the balance of N58.227 billion was handed over to Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
Agba’s presentation of the breakdown of the funds processed and released by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, showed that N32.088 billion was released for Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, N20.59 billion for Conditional Cash Transfer, N149.965 billion for Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, N355.846 billion for Job Creation Unit, while N2.428 billion was released for Social Investment Programme (General).
Agba said: “Prior to the handing over to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, requests for payments for all types of expenditures in respect of any of the programmes of NSIP emanated from the National Social Investment Office situated under the Office of the Vice President.
“Requests for payments from the NSIP office, were signed by the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment. Funds for the programmes are domiciled in Central Bank of Nigeria, Account Number 0020208461037.”
In his response, Oke expressed displeasure over the failure by all the Desk Officers to provide the procurement records.
He said: “We gave you powers, pursuant to our various appropriation Acts, to spend money; no problem. We are only asking you, based on the project audit, to retire. Give us records. It is as simple as that.
“You have given us records of N-Power. Nobody is arguing with you over N-Power. We can see the names of beneficiaries of N-Power; nobody is making noise about it.
“As members, we can feel the N-Power beneficiaries in the various Local Government Areas and Constituencies; nobody is asking you questions about it. But Dotun claimed that Auditor-General said they spent N191 billion, and we are asking him to retire same. It is as simple as that.
“Give us records, what you did with N191 billion. Who did you pay to? That is the question we are asking. We should be able to report to Nigerians. That is what we are asking for. Give us the procurement report and that ends there.”