Dog­ara Kicks against Al­leged Di­ver­sion of N320bn Nat­u­ral Re­sources Fund

THISDAY - - NEWS EXTRA - In Abuja

James Emejo

The Speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Hon. Yakubu Dog­ara, has ex­pressed dis­plea­sure over al­le­ga­tions of mis­ap­pli­ca­tion of over N320 bil­lion Nat­u­ral Re­sources Fund (NRF).

The N350 bil­lion Fund floated to boost sources of non oil rev­enue was said to have been abused by its han­dlers who utilise it to ad­vance loans to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, states, MDAs and pri­vate firms for mat­ters un­re­lated to nat­u­ral re­sources.

Speak­ing at an in­ves­tiga­tive hear­ing of the House Ad hoc Com­mit­tee on the util­i­sa­tion of N350 bil­lion NRF, the Speaker said: “Avail­able records show that over N320 bil­lion of the NRF was utilised as loans to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment of Nige­ria, states, MDAs and some cases; pri­vate firms most times for mat­ters un­re­lated to nat­u­ral re­sources.

“This prac­tice is un­ac­cept­able and must be cor­rected, I charge this ad-hoc com­mit­tee to use all avail­able leg­isla­tive pow­ers to re­cover the funds that are utilised il­le­gally.”

He said: “In ad­di­tion, the com­mit­tee in line with the res­o­lu­tion of the House should come up with recommendations to safe­guard fur­ther mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of NGF and also rec­om­mend an ap­pro­pri­ate le­gal frame­work.”

He said though there is a weak leg­isla­tive frame work on the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the NRF, the Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der which is the bed rock of the NGF com­posed by Rev­enue Mo­bil­i­sa­tion, Al­lo­ca­tion and Fis­cal Com­mis­sion for the es­tab­lish­ment of NGF cen­tered on the di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of the econ­omy by de­vel­op­ing sources of rev­enue other than oil and gas.

He pointed out that the ac­count, hith­erto known as the De­vel­op­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Ac­count, was set up through an ex­ec­u­tive or­der in 2002 to de­velop al­ter­na­tive min­eral re­sources to lessen the na­tion’s de­pen­dence on petroleum.

He said: “The then-Pres­i­dent Obasanjo is­sued an ex­ec­u­tive or­der to make the rev­enue shar­ing for­mula con­form with the Supreme Court rul­ing of 2002.

“It was ded­i­cated to the de­vel­op­ment of nat­u­ral re­sources to pro­mote eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion, en­hance em­ploy­ment and in­come gen­er­a­tion, and im­prove the so­cio-eco­nomic liv­ing con­di­tions of Nige­ri­ans for sus­tain­able na­tional de­vel­op­ment.”

Dog­ara said the essence of the ad-hoc com­mit­tee was to en­sure the util­i­sa­tion of the Fund is strictly in ac­cor­dance with the de­clared ob­jec­tive.

He added that the lower cham­ber would not con­done di­ver­sion or abuse in what­ever guise of the NRF to ar­eas that are out­side its core man­date.

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