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Senate threatens agencies with zero allocations over MTEF/FSP

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•Queries ‘arbitrary’ resident permit fee

The Senate, yesterday, threatened revenue-generating agencies and departments of government with zero votes should they snub the summons of its Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning to defend their proposals in the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP).

This comes as it queried the “arbitrary” charge for resident permits by a foreign firm, Continental Transfert Technique Limited (CONTEC).
The discovery followed the presentation of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) by its Comptroller-General, Muhammed Babandede where he told the lawmakers at the opening of a five-day public hearing on the financial documents that of the N20,350,233 billion generated in 2018, the firm got 72 per cent of the money (amounting to N15 billion), while in 2019, it took N23 billion from the N40 billion raked in by the service.

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The panel, consequently, ordered a thorough investigation into the contract entered into by the Ministry of Interior and the international company for combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC), which it noted, has been robbing the nation of billions since 2007.

Babandede had added that the contractor was not performing any special task that his establishment could not do better. He said NIS was in discussion with the Ministry of Justice for advice on its proposed upward review of resident permit fee from $1,000 to $2, 000.

The committee chairman, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC: Lagos West), who gave the warning in Abuja, also advised against sending in representatives.

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“We will not accept appearance by proxy. Only the heads and chief executive of agencies that must appear. So, all agencies that ought to appear today (yesterday), must appear tomorrow (today) unfailingly with their heads and chief executives alone,” he clarified.

For defaulters, the Lagos lawmaker reiterated: “We would ensure that the agency has a zero budget for the year. It is a must, because this document was put together by the executive. We need all the heads of agencies to come and defend what is before us.”

He recalled that the framework was sent to the upper legislative chamber on July 20,2020 for consideration preparatory to the presentation of the 2021 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The event was attended by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; his deputy, Ajayi Boroffice; Chief Whip, Orji Uzo Kalu and over 20 committee members.

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