By Udora Orizu
The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Account has said that its investigation of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) of the federal government has nothing to do with the office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Wole Oke who made the clarification yesterday when the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance appeared before the Committee, said the House was aware that the office the Vice President was only responsible for policy formulation and monitoring of the programme.
He said, “By our records, the office of the Vice President is responsible for policy formulation and monitoring of the National Social Investment Programme. Issues bordering on procurement were handled by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, which has now been merged with the Ministry of Finance. We have it on record that the Ministry of Budget and National Planning handled all issues of procurement from 2016 to September 2019 when the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs was created.
“Our request is for the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to make available all relevant procure records for the various items under the NSIP. Our investigation has nothing to do with the office of the Vice President but the Ministry. A total of N1.79 trillion was budgeted for the programme for which over N600 million was expended. The Bank of Industry (BoI) has appeared and made some explanations. The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs has also appeared and made their presentation on N-Power. We have also has presentation from the Programme Officers of the other three programmes.
“Our interest now is on the Home School Feeding programme and the ministry should give us records of procurement. Nobody should make mistake about that and our mission.’’
“We are not available for anybody to use to malign anybody. We want to put that on record that we are not investigating the office of the Vice President.”
The Chairman however asked the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Olusola Idowu and his team to liaise with a three-man ad hoc committee to reconcile it’s audit queries and report back.’’
However, defending their 2016 query before the committee, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) informed the Committee that they made tax refund of over N28.4 billion as tax refund to beneficiaries between 2014 and 2016.
Coordinating Director of the FIRS, Innocent Ohagwa who represented the service was responding to the query of the Auditor General that N10 billion and N12 billion were supposedly paid out as tax refund in 2014 and 2015 respectively without evidence.