President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the National Assembly’s approval of payment of N488.7 billion refund to state governments for projects they executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
The president rejected the National Assembly’s approval on the grounds that it contained discrepancies.
Buhari communicated the decision through a letter read by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at yesterday’s plenary.
The president said he rejected the National Assembly’s approval because it also violated provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
He noted that whereas the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved N487.8 billion for the purpose, the National Assembly jerked up the figure to N488.7 billion and that the amount approved by the lawmakers was N890 million higher than that approved by FEC.
Buhari said a review of the NASS’ approval, communicated through a July 27, 2018 letter, also revealed discrepancies in the number of states submitted by FEC and those approved by the lawmakers.
The president added that the amount approved by the lawmakers for each of the 21 states was higher than that approved by FEC for each of them, except for Adamawa, Jigawa, Kano and Niger.
He urged senate to note that the Public Procurement Act, 2007, empowers the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to approve vendors for contract sums. According to him, the amounts presented to the National Assembly for approval were duly certified for reimbursement by the BPP before they were approved by FEC.
Buhari said this was after the projects had been inspected through a programme under the chairmanship of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing.
“You may wish to refer to the letter from the National Assembly REF: NASS/CNA/106/Vol.10/277 dated 27th of July 2018 which communicated the approval by the National Assembly of the promissory note programme and a bond issuance to settle inherited local debts and contractual obligations on refund to state governments on projects executed on behalf of the federal government, in the sum of N488,743,526,204.77.
“Senate may wish to know that in view of the approval by the National Assembly, the following were observed; while FEC approved N487,842,888,574.74 only, as reimbursement to the state governments, the National Assembly approved N488,743,526,204.77, implying that the amount approved by the National Assembly was N890,537,630,03 higher than the amount approved by FEC.
“While FEC approved reimbursement to 25 states, National Assembly approved reimbursement to 21 states.
“The National Assembly did not approve any reimbursement for four states; Bauchi, Delta, Kogi and Taraba whereas FEC had approved reimbursement for them and note that the amount approved by the National Assembly, for reimbursement by 21 states, are higher than the amounts approved by the Federal Executive Council for reimbursement to 25 states.
“The amounts approved by the National Assembly for reimbursement to each of the 21 states is higher than the amounts approved by FEC to each of these states except for Adamawa, Jigawa, Kano and Niger.”
“Since the BPP is charged with the responsibility of approving contract sums, and there’s a need for compliance with the Public Procurement Act 2007, I wish to request that you forward to us details relating to the amounts approved by the National Assembly for the 17 states excess of what was certified by the BPP for necessary certification and approval.
“Furthermore, I wish to request for review of the reimbursement earlier submitted in favour of Bauchi, Delta, Kogi and Taraba States.
“Meanwhile, the federal government shall proceed with the implementation on the following basis; where the amount approved by the National Assembly is the same as the amount approved by FEC, the jointly approved amount will be reimbursed. The states ate Adamawa, Jigawa, Kano and Niger.
“Where the amount approved by the National Assembly is higher than the amount approved by FEC, the amount approved by FEC will be reimbursed. The states are Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Ebonyi, Benue, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kwara, Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Plateau and Zamfara.
“And, where no amount is approved by National Assembly, no reimbursement will be made. The affected states are Bauchi, Delta, Kogi and Taraba,” the president said in the correspondence.
Meanwhile, senate spokesman, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, was unreachable yesterday night. Repeated calls to his known mobile lines, to react to the president’s correspondence, went unanswered.