…Says apex bank disbursed N1.2trn without recourse to law
From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate is moving to checkmate the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) disbursement of intervention fund saying the N1.2 trillion spent by the apex bank in various sectors of the economy was done without recourse to the law. The decision to check mate the apex bank intervention fund followed a bill sponsored by Senator Rose Oko from Cross River state.
In the bill titled “A bill for an Act to Amend the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 to Ensure Transparency and Accountability in the Operation of the Bank and Subject intervention Advances to the Approval of National Assembly.” Senate accused the apex bank of acting in contravention of the provision of the constitution and the Fiscal Responsibility Act through extra-budgetary intervention to selected bodies, institutions and agencies.
Leading debate on the motion, Senator Oko, lamented that there is no mechanism in place to monitor and track the CBN intervention funds. She added that lack of proper tracking of CBN intervention fund has made it difficult for the lawmakers to proper oversight the agency.
She explained that many countries across the globe including Ghana, Liberia, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda intervene in their economy like that of CBN programme, but with legislative approval.
Ojo listed CBN’s various intervention funds done without National Assembly approval, to include the N620 billion bailout for five banks, namely Afribank Plc, intercontinental Bank Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria, oceanic Bank and Finbank plc, varrious donations to tertiary institution running into several billions, the N300 billion bailout to states drawn from $2.1 billion NLNG’s taxes and dividens to pay salaries.
“N2.2 trilliom said to have been set aside by the CBN to fund various sector of the economy like Commercial Agricultural credit Scheme (CAC) N200 billion, Power and Aviation intervention fund (PAIF) N300 billion, MSMEDF- N200 billion, real sector support facility (RSSF)-N300 billion, and Nigeria Electrical Market Stabilization faicilty (NEMSF) N213 billion totalling N1.223 trillion among others.
“The total capital budget for 2016 was N1.8 trillion. If N1.2 trillion was indeed disbursed or intended as intervention fund, then an amount almost size the capital budget was disbursed without appropriation and tracking to know effectiveness of the intervention in the economy.