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Reps to probe CBN over alleged under-remittances to federation account

By Adamu Abuh and Otei Oham, Abuja
21 December 2017   |   3:02 am
The House of Representatives has ordered an investigation into allegations of under-remittances by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the federation account.

Members of the House of Representatives at a plenary. PHOTO: TWITTER/HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

The House of Representatives has ordered an investigation into allegations of under-remittances by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the federation account.

The House also enjoined the authorities to initiate a process of bailing out specific and critical industries in the country in order to reduce the huge unemployment among the youth. 

The decision on the apex financial institution followed the adoption of a motion under matters of urgent public importance moved by Mrs. Ayo Omidiran during plenary. 

A high-powered adhoc committee has been constituted to probe the issue and report in two months time.

Omidiran accused the CBN of violating section 80 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) by spending funds not appropriated by the national assembly. 

She alleged that the CBN had taken advantage of its statutory duties by opening various accounts not known to the three tiers of government where funds are remitted, hidden and spent without authorization. 

Noting that the CBN as at 2006 opened various accounts with JP Morgan Chase Bank in New York, in the United States of America (USA) in which international oil companies remit all revenues for the federation, she alleged that the CBN still operates an account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (USA).

She claimed that the CBN’s responsibilities of receiving revenue in foreign currencies and converting same to naira for the benefit of the three tiers of government has led to substantial loss in the amounts remitted to the federation account. 

Adopting a motion sponsored by Mr. James Abiodun Faleke, the House also urged the authorities to devise strategies that will lead to improvement in power supply, especially to serve the industries so as to prevent them from going under due to the high cost of power.

Noting that such measure must be devoid of bureaucratic bottlenecks and demand for collateral, except with the equipment and assets of the industries, the lawmakers stressed the need to apply the bailout through the Bank of Industry, the Bank of Agriculture, the Nigerian Export/ Import Bank at a single digit interest rate with three years moratorium. 

The House mandated its Committees on Finance, Industry, and Labour, Employment and Productivity to devise a plan that will enable the Federal Government to actualize the bailout proposal to ailing and moribund industries in order to address the problem of unemployment in the country. 

Also, the Victor Nwokolo -led House Committee on petroleum resources (upstream) ‎met with officials of the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) over its alleged persistent lack of capacity and revenue losses.

NPDC’s Managing Director, Mr. Yusuf Matashi, who testified before the lawmakers acknowledged that his outfit is yet to clear its indebtedness to the tune of $1.7 billion as royalty to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) as at 2015.
He disclosed that his outfit had been paying a monthly royalty of $10 million to the DPR for the past two years as part of effort to live up to its responsibility.

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