Senate to FG: Account for N100bn Gas Project Funds Disbursement Within 7 Days

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja 

The Senate has asked the Federal Government to forward to it details of the award and disbursement of over N100 billion to companies engaged in the handling of the  Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (PCNG) projects allegedly done in breach of the Public Procurement Act 2017.  

The Senate Committee on Gas made the demand in a letter written to the Minister of Finance, who is also the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, asking him to provide the documents within seven days.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Jarigbe Agom, specifically asked the minister to forward to the committee comprehensive records of the award and disbursement of over N100 billion and list of companies engaged in the handling of the project. 

The request was coming on the heels of a fresh plan by the PCNG to release another N130 billion to unspecified number of companies.

The committee had earlier commended  President Bola Tinubu for the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) initiatives but asked the president to urgently present a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to cover such spending.

It however, noted that the Federal Government ignored an earlier warning by the Gas Committee that spending tax payers’ money on the gas infrastructure development projects without National Assembly approval would amount to extra budgetary expenditure and gross violation of the Public Procurement Act . 

The committee’s current letter is therefore asking the finance minister to furnish it with details of the award and disbursement of the over N100 billion.

This  was sequel to a fresh petition by a group known as ‘Good Governance and Transparency Front’. 

The group accused the Chairman of the Steering Committee of Presidential CNG Initiative of approving the disbursement of the funds to cronies without following due process and the Public Procurement Act, 2007.

The group, in the letter to the committee, also stated that the PCNG had not made any progress even with the disbursement of N100 billion because the PCNG refused to engage experts in gas development in the execution of the project. 

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Gas, Jarigbe, in a letter dated January 9 and made available to journalists in Wednesday, said: “I am writing to request for comprehensive brief regarding the utilization of the sum of N100 billion allocated by the Federal Government for the development of gas infrastructure aimed at  providing Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to Nigerians as an alternative to fossil fuels.” 

Jarigbe warned the PCNG of the grave consequences of going ahead with such disbursement without approval by the Senate.

He  said: “The committee is seeking detailed information on the process followed in the award and disbursement of funds to the companies benefiting from the allocation. 

“I would appreciate insight into the compliance of these processes with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007.

“Specifically, the committee is interested in understanding the steps taken in the opening of bids, the qualification criteria applied and the subsequent awarding of contracts to the selected companies. 

“We are also interested in transparency and adherence to due process that are crucial aspects in ensuring public trust and accountability in such initiatives.

“Kindly provide documentation and details regarding the committees that received funding, outlining the specific projects or initiatives they are undertaking to promote the use Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in the country.

“I believe that this information will be invaluable for our committee’s oversight responsibilities and will contribute to ensuring the success and effectiveness of government’s efforts in promoting alternative energy sources.

“I appreciate your attention on this matter and look forward to receiving the requested information in seven (7) days from the date of receipt.

“The requested information should please, be submitted in soft copy and 30 sets of hard copy to the Clerk of the Committee.”

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