Senate panel rejects ministry’s budget for voting N42bn to ‘private’ firm

Senate panel rejects ministry’s budget for voting N42bn to ‘private’ firm

The Senate Committee on Trade and Investment on Monday rejected the 2019 budgetary proposal of the Ministry of Industry , Trade and Investment for voting N 42bn to a ‘private ’ company . The panel claimed that the firm , Special Economic Zone Company, was a private company , against the claims by the ministry

The Senate Committee on Trade and Investment on Monday rejected the 2019 budgetary proposal of the Ministry of Industry , Trade and Investment for voting N 42bn to a ‘private ’ company .
The panel claimed that the firm , Special Economic Zone Company, was a private company , against the claims by the ministry that it was a government firm .
The development led to the outright rejection of the ministry ’ s proposal of N 15 . 6 bn as its 2019 budget presented to the Senate panel.
Trouble started when the panel confronted the minister , Okechukwu Enelamah , during the budget defence session to explain why his ministry proposed N 15 bn as its 2019 budget but sought the National Assembly approval of N 42bn for a private firm .
The minister had earlier presented a booklet containing the 2019 budget proposals for the agencies under his ministry to the Senator Sabo Mohammed panel.
However , after his presentation , the panel chairman drew the attention of Enelamah to item 2 on page 7 of the booklet which has N 42. 091 bn budgetary allocation for the Nigeria Special Economic Zone Company.
The panel insisted that the firm was not known to be one of the 17 agencies under the ministry .
The minister said the company was established through a presidential initiative and given approval at a cabinet meeting in May 2018.
He said , “ One of the areas that this government has focused on is infrastructure. The second area is industrialisation and the two have something in common .
“ If the government tries to do it alone, it would be extremely taxing. So , the President directed that we should bring other partners that can contribute to whatever money we have to build world – class infrastructure which led to the establishment of the company in partnership with other investors. ”
Meanwhile , when asked to explain the owners of the company , the minister said it was owned by the Federal Government and other shareholders . But the panel disagreed with him .
The chairman of the committee then told him that a document obtained by them from the Corporate Affairs Commission signed by Terver Ayua – Jor , for the Registrar General, did not agree with the minister ’ s submission.
According to him , the letter from the CAC contains information on how the company was registered .

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