Senate Panel Uncovers N16bn Smuggled into Ministry of Environment budget

Senate Committee on Environment has how N16 billion was smuggled into the Ministry of Environment 2022 budget .

The Chairman of the Committee on Environment, Senator Ike Ekweremadu gave the hint during budget presentation before Senate Committee on Appropriation on Monday.
He lamented that N6 billion was included in the Ministry budget in last year budget.

He added that in the budget of the Ministry for 2022 N16 billion was included in the loan which the servicing will start in 2023 and the beneficiaries of loans were 21 states not even Federal government.
Ekweremadu said, “Last year as I said there was N6 billion in the environment budget for the servicing of a multilateral loan regarding to erosion control.

“Regrettably, about N1.5 billion of it was released to environment and later the ministry of finance wrote, saying it was a mistake that that was supposed to be from the service wide vote from we service most of the loans. So we took it in good faith but surprisingly we now got another N16 billion for the same reason from the ministry of environment and because there was a directive from the leadership of the national assembly that we should not tamper with monies provided for multilateral loan.
” But we decided to find out what it is all about, eventually we invited the ministry who now said that by the time they got their envelope, the money they sent to Ministries to distribute to agencies. There was no such amount so by the time the money came to national assembly, there was this N16 billion for the servicing of the new map loan.

‘We asked when this money is due for servicing, they said there has a 10 year monetarium, we can’t be providing for it until 2023.

“We also found out that about 21 states are benefiting from it and it is these states that will pay the loan and not the federal government. So It is either we wait until 2023 before making provisions for it or we ask the states to start making provisions for it if they have to pay now.
“Even if the federal government has to pay it has to go through the service wide votes not the respective budgets of the MDAs, it’s wrong.”

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