Emefiele comes under fire for shunning lawmakers’ two summonses
The Senate Committee on Finance yesterday took a swipe at the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefele, for failing to appear it before after two consecutive invitations.
The panel said it first invited him during the debate on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for clarifications on stamp duty collections which was spurned only for the CBN boss to be summoned again to shed more light on issues revolving around exchange rate all to no avail.
Angered by the development, the committee members stopped Emefiele’s representatives from addressing them.The panel, led by Solomon Adeola, asked the CBN Deputy Governor, Adebisi Shonubi, and his team to leave because the invitation was not for them.
They flayed Emefiele for not informing them earlier via a formal letter that he was sending a representative.He was therefore asked to appear before the panel again tomorrow by 2:00p.m.
The committee had summoned Emefiele to appear before it yesterday with detailed explanations on the rationale behind the different exchange rates the apex bank used for three key projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF).The multi-billion dollar projects are being funded with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
The PIDF was earmarked from the dollar-denominated Sovereign Wealth Fund to partly fund the Lagos –Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, Abuja –Kano Expressway, East-West Road and Mambilla hydro project.The first three projects had already been funded to the tune of N163.8 billion.
The panel demanded the appearance of the CBN Governor during an interactive session between it and the Managing Director of NSIA, Uche Orji.The committee chairman queried: “Where is the CBN Governor, he was not here last Friday, where is he?”The deputy governor responded: “I know he flew out of Abuja, he is actually in Edo State since last Friday. It is actually a phone call that I got to come and represent him.”Adeola enthused: “So there is no correspondence to that effect, do you have a copy of the letter of the committee to the CBN?”
The CBN deputy governor answered in the negative, saying he was present based on what was read to him on phone.The panel chairman asked rhetorically how that could be done on the phone, as he asked further whether he knew the agenda of the meeting?He answered by saying, “I am aware like I said it was read to me. The issue relates to the transactions that we had with the sovereign investment agency.”
The committee chairman said as a tradition of the upper legislative chamber, whenever it invited the head of any agency to come, they would like the head of the agency to appear.“We don’t want invitation by proxy,” he stated.