The Senate on Tuesday summoned the Minister of Finance, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, and the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, over the funding status of three Federal Government legacy projects. Also summoned were the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, and the Managing Director of Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr Uche Orji. summoned was issued at an interactive meeting, organised by the Senate Committee on Finance with NSIA officials.
The legacy projects are the Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge. The projects are being funded with the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) managed by the NSIA. The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Solomon Olamilekan, said that the heads of the agencies were summoned to explain the issue of variation in the contract sum of the projects between the periods of initiation up to the time the PIDF took over the funding. Earlier, Orji told the panel that the construction contracts were executed between the ministry of works and the contractors before they were transferred to the PIDF.
He said that all information and documentation relating to the projects prior to the handover should be sought from the ministry of works. Orji said that the NSIA was not responsible for debts, accumulated on the projects because they preceded the establishment of the NSIA. “All questions regarding the legacy debts are matters preceding our entrance. Those who were there should answer,” he stated. The managing director explained further that NSIA had so far, disbursed N231.8 billion, with N60.9 billion disbursed to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, N100.7 billion to the Second Niger Bridge and N70.1 billion to the Abuja-Kano Road.
He said the PIDF balance as at June 2020 stood at N181.4 billion. The balance, he added, incorporated the receipt of the recovered looted asset of 311 million dollars. “We estimate that these funds will be depleted by the beginning of Q3 2021. “Under the PIDF mandate, NSIA is to receive two transfers of 650 million dollars. “So far, NSIA has received one of the transfers. Once the funding in Q3 2021 is expended, NSIA will either need the additional transfer or raise funding from other sources,” he said.