House Demands Details of Implementation of N500bn Social Intervention Fund

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Says Nigeria lost N3.7bn through Manitoba’s dubious exchange rate
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

The House of Representatives has directed the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Poverty Alleviation to make available the administrative framework and details of the programmes to be implemented under the N500 billion social intervention fund.

The details are to be submitted to the Committee on Poverty Alleviation within the next three weeks.

The resolution of the House followed a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Hon. Chika Adamu (Niger APC) who also harped on the need for the disbursement of the N500 billion to be stopped until the framework has been provided.

Chika argued that the office of the Vice President is not the right structure to handle such social intervention fund to mitigate the plight of the poor and vulnerable.
He added that different intervention programmes introduced at different times in the country have failed due to mismanagement and lack of strong institutional structure.

The majority leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, argued that there was no need to request for any framework for the implementation as the fund is already backed by law through its inclusion in the 2016 appropriation.

The Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Jibrin Abdulmumim, also argued that officials from the Vice President’s office met with the relevant committees to defend the intervention fund.

The Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, however noted that while the fund is backed by law through its inclusion in the budget, the lawmakers can request for the details of its implementation.
The House also alleged that Nigeria lost N3.7 billion to an unlawful exchange rate of N395 to the dollar, being used by Manitoba’s since 2012.

While the official exchange rate of the Naira to the dollar stood at N160 in 2012 before rising to N199 in 2015, Manitoba used an exchange rate of N395, the House alleged.
Manitoba International, a Canadian firm which was later incorporated in Nigeria as Manitoba Hydro International Nigeria Limited, manages the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
The House yesterday lamented that in spite of the harsh economic climate the managing director of TCN earns N35.5 million monthly.

Other expatriates in the TCN earn between N19.1 million and N20.5 million every month, the House added.
Hon. Jonathan Gaza Gbewfi (Nasarawa PDP) who moved the motion on the need to investigate massive corrupt practices being perpetrated at Manitoba, noted that the company has not met its key performance indicators under the management contract.

“And has failed to justify the humongous sums of money it has drawn in expatriate emoluments,” Gbewfi added.
“In April 2016, the management company unlawfully revalidated a 2010 contract worth N1.9billion and awarded it to ABB India without due process, in flagrant violation of the Public Procurement Act 2007,” he added.
The House therefore directed its Committees on Power and Public Procurement to investigate the allegations raised against the company and report back in four weeks.