Senate Approves Payment of N401,154bn to Settle Inherited Local Debts

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* Confirms Tukur as NFIU director

By Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate on Wednesday approved the payment of N401.154 billion to seven contractors and 270 exporters for the settlement of outstanding local debts and contractual obligations.

This is sequel to the presentation of the National Assembly Conference Committee Report on Promissory Note Programme and Bond Issuance by the Chairman, Senator Francis Alimikehena (Edo North).

Alimikehena, had in a six-page report of the committee he presented at Senate plenary, said the committee had approved a promissory note programme and a bond issuance in the sum of N206,065 billion for the payment of seven contractors and N195.089 billion bond issuance for the payment of 270 exporters’ claim in Export Expansion Grant (EEG) Scheme.

He said the 13-man conference committee met on January 18 and harmonised the differences in the recommendations of the reports with respect to the payment of Beneficiaries/Exporters in Export Expansion Grant (EEG) Scheme and Contractors as passed by both chambers of the National Assembly in December 2018.

According to him, the two additional companies (SCC Nigerian Limited and Mahaza Company Limited), whose approval was not granted by the Senate due to the non-presentation of relevant documents, but after presenting those documents before the House Committee on Aids , Loans and Debts Management which recommended the payment of N162.479 billion and N2.046 billion to the two companies respectively.

The Senate also Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Modibbo Hamman Tukur as director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

This followed the presentation of a six-page report of the Senate eight-man Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes by its Chairman, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North), on the screening of the nominee.

Utazi said Tukur, a Master’s degree holder, who was screened by the committee on January 17, was between 2005 and 2017 Head of Strategic Partnership and International Affairs at the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He said the committee decided to recommend Tukur to Senate for confirmation as NFIU director based on his qualification, experience and suitability.

The Senate also referred the confirmation of three nominees as career ambassadors-designate to its Committee on Foreign Affairs headed by Senator Monsurat Sunmonu (Oyo Central).

The committee, which is to report back to Senate within two weeks, was mandated following the presentation of Christopher Chejina (Delta), Bukar Kolo (Yobe) and M.A. Mabdul (Benue) to the Senate as ambassadorial nominees by Senate Chief Whip, Senator Sola Adeyeye (Osun Central).

Adeyeye also came under Order 43 to talk about the deplorable condition of the nation’s aviation sector.

He mentioned a sad observation of flying Arik Air thrice with the air conditional not working and this much was confirmed by the cabin crew.

Adeyeye described this as danger waiting to happen in the aviation sector “when aircraft are not serviced when due”.

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, who presided, also expressed concern about this development and mandated the Senate Committee on Aviation headed by Senator Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central) to look into the complaint of Adeyeye and report back to Senate in a week.