By Queenesther Iroanusi
President Muhammadu Buhari for the second time has said the National Assembly inflated the debt figures to be repaid by the federal government to some states.
He asked the lawmakers to send details of the amounts they approved for Delta and Taraba States.
He said he would go ahead to pay the amount earlier approved by the federal executive council and not the National Assembly figure.
The debt repayment in promissory notes is for projects executed on behalf of the federal government by various state governments.
A promissory note is a debt instrument which one party promises in writing to pay a determinate sum of money to the other, either at a fixed or determinable future time, under specific terms.
His request was communicated via a letter which was read out by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday.
In the letter, Mr Buhari pointed out that the total amount approved by the National Assembly to Delta and Taraba states was higher than the amount approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
He also said the National Assembly of not approving reimbursement to Bauchi and Kogi states after FEC approved reimbursements for them.
Part of the letter read, “I wish to inform the Senate that we have received the approval of the National Assembly via letter referenced NASS/CNA/106/volume11/004 dated 29th January 2019 for refunds to Delta and Taraba states through the issuance of a promissory note for projects executed on behalf of the federal government.
“In view of the approval of the National Assembly, the following was observed:
1. While the Federal Executive Council approved the total sum of N78 billion (78,601,631,430.16), as reimbursement to Delta and Taraba state governments, national assembly approved N90 billion (90,236,461,031.36) which is higher than the amount approved by the Federal Executive Council.
2. The national assembly did not approve any reimbursement to Bauchi and Kogi states governments whereas the Federal Executive Council approved reimbursement for them.”
The president reminded the lawmakers of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007 which empowers the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to approve contracts – as he said the amounts presented to the National Assembly were duly certified for reimbursement by the Bureau before they were approved by FEC.
“Since the Bureau of Public Procurement is charged with the responsibility of approving contractual sums when there is a need for compliance with the Public Procurement Act 2007, I wish to request that you forward to us details relating to the amount approved by the national assembly for Delta and Taraba states in essence of what certified by the Bureau of Public Procurement for necessary certification approval.
“Meanwhile, the federal government shall proceed with the implementation by reimbursing the amount approved by the federal executive council. Furthermore, I wish to suggest that you review their reimbursement in favour of Bauchi and Kogi state governments while looking forward to timely consideration of the request,” he said.
This is the second time the president will accuse the National Assembly of inflating debts to be repaid to states.
He had in December 2018 accused the National Assembly of approving N488 billion as reimbursement to the state governments while FEC approved 487 billion.
He had also accused the lawmakers of approving reimbursements to 21 states after FEC approved reimbursements for 25 states.