Buhari seeks NASS approval of N148bn for reimbursement to five states

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President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the House of Representatives seeking the approval for the federal government to refund N148 billion to five states.

The five states are Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and Rivers and the money was spent by the beneficiaries on the repair of some federal roads in their respective states.

In the letter read by the speaker of the house of representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, the president sought “approval of the reimbursement of N148.14 billion through the issuance of promissory notes to Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and Rivers State governments for federal road projects executed by the states.”

The letter entitled ‘Request for resolution of the national assembly for approval of the reimbursement of N148.141bn through the issuance of promissory notes to Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and Rivers State governments for federal roads projects executed by the states’ reads: “The House of Representatives may wish to be informed that the Federal Executive Council, FEC at it: meeting of June 3rd 2020 approved the reimbursement of N148, 141.969.161.24 through the issuance of Promissory Notes to the Bayelsa. Cross River. Ondo, Osun and Rivers State Governments for Federal Road projects executed by the States.

“The Extract from the Conclusion of the meeting referenced EC 11(2020) 4 is attached as Appendix 1.

“The approval by FEC was subsequent to the recommendation of an Inter-Ministerial Committee which reviewed the requests for reimbursement made by the State Governments for the projects.

“The Committee reviewed the documents submitted and carried out physical inspection and verification of the projects in the respective States before making its recommendation to FEC. The summary of the amounts approved for each of the five (5) States as stated in the table below:

1. Bayelsa State N38,404,564.783.40_

2. Cross River State N18.394,732.608 85

3 Ondo State N7.822.147 577.08

4 Osun State N4.567.456.673 63 >

5 Rivers State N78.953.067.518 29

TOTAL N148.141.969.161 24 3.

“In view of the foregoing, I wish to request the House of Representatives to kindly approve through its Resolution, the request for the reimbursement of the total sum of N14314196916124 through the issuance of Promissory Notes to the five (5) aforementioned State Governments for the Federal Road Projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government, as detailed in Paragraph 2 above.

“The Honourable Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning shall provide any information that may be required by National Assembly in its consideration of this request.”

It would be recalled that the 36 states had in 2016 sent a huge bill to the federal government seeking a refund of funds they expended on the repair of some federal roads in their respective states.

President Muhammadu Buhari set up a committee to visit the states and verify the claims they made.

At the end of the investigation, the committee recommended that the federal government should refund N550, 364,297.31 billion to 31 of the 36 states, after they were convinced that the projects were completed and they were federal government roads.

Five states were denied reimbursement because they could not present convincing documents to back their claims while 31 others with verifiable documentations were paid over N550 billion.

Nevertheless, the committee later went back to those states for a second investigation and thereafter recommended the approved sum.

But the claims of five other states – Cross River, Rivers, Ondo, Bayelsa and Osun – failed on the grounds that they did not do proper documentation and the committee felt they needed proper documentation.

However, the committee went back with new terms of reference to ensure that the claims of the five states were in order.

At the end of the exercise, the committee reported that the five states – Cross River with 20 roads and one bridge will get a refund of N18,394,737,608.85;

Ondo with six roads will get a refund of N7, 822,147,577.08, and Osun with two roads and one bridge will get a refund of N2, 468,938,876.78.

Others are Bayelsa with five roads and one bridge to get a refund of N38, 040,564,783.40 and Rivers with three roads and three flyover bridges to get a refund of N78, 953,067,518.29.

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