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Lawmakers Investigate N13 billion Foreign Missions’ Debt

By on November 16, 2012

Foreign Affairs Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru


The house of representative has vowed to investigate the contentious N13b debt owed by the ministry of foreign affairs for its foreign missions.

The investigation became necessary when the lawmakers noticed that the ministry’s 2013 budget, according to them lacked focus on programmes aimed at promoting the worth of the country in other nations.

During the 2013 budget defence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs faulted the allocation of N788, 496,120 to a conference on women empowerment.

Regarding recurrent expenditure for 2013, covering its Directorates excluding the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) and its 118 overseas Missions, the ministry of foreign affairs proposed N23, 516,878,688 for personnel and N23, 487,974,123 for overhead, which translates to N47, 004,852,810.

In the same field, the ministry is proposing N23, 646,102,870 for capital expenditure.

The Ministry was led to the House by the Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Nnnena Ukeje, said the ministry should be promoting the interest of the country with an aim of getting something in return in every contact, instead of accepting everything shoved at it by other countries.

At the point the committee questioned the N13 billion debt owed by the country’s missions, maintaining that the Ministry should present evidence on how the debt was incurred as well as explain if the N13billion has become a recurring decimal.

“Has the N13billion become a recurring decimal as it is appearing again in 2013 budget?” Ukeje asked.

According to Ashiru, despite the fact that the money has not been released, as it was not appropriated for in the 2012 budget, the Committee made known that it would probe how the debt was incurred.

In addition, it has raised a 23-man special committee to fine-tune the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which has passed second reading.

The Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, announced the members of the Special Ad-hoc panel after the closure of the second day of debate on the contentious bill with the title: “A Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of a legal, fiscal and regulatory framework for the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria and for other related matters and a Bill for an Act to establish the National New Frontier Agency for the purpose of exploration and production of oil and gas in the Frontier of Chad Basin, Dahomey Basin, Imo Basin, Benue Trough, Bauchi Basin and Sokoto Basin and for other matters connected therewith”.

Ishaka Mohammed Bawa, the Chief Whip of the House was named head of the Ad-hoc panel and Minority Whip, Samson Osagie as the Deputy Chairman of the panel. Tambuwal said they were to take further legislative action of aspects of the PIB.

The Ad hoc Committee is to conduct a public hearing on the bill.

Some lawmakers said the provisions of the PIB were full of inconsistencies and loopholes that would most definitely have negative impact on the nation.