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Reps to probe Budget Office over forced N8bn remittance by FERMA

The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, resolved to investigate the Director-General of the Budget office of the Federation, Mr Ben Akabueze, over his directive to the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to remit N8 billion out of the N10.3 billion released to the agency for its capital project in the 2016 budget to the treasury,

Consequently, it resolved that an Adhoc-Committee should be set up to investigate the matter, and report back within the next one week.

This followed the adoption of a motion moved by Hon Agbedi Frederick, PDP, Sagbama/Ekeremor Fed Constituency, Bayelsa. Under matters of public importance, tagged: “Urgent Need to Curb Developing Trend Where the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Now Direct Chief Executives of Agencies of Government to Remit to The Treasury Capital Funds Already Released to Them.”

While leading the debate, Agbedi lamented that “there is a worrisome developing trend where the DG, Budget Office of the Federation, directed the Chief Executives of FERMA, to remit treasury capital funds already released to them.”

Accordng to the lawmaker, “the DG of Budget Office directed the MD of FERMA, to remit to the treasury N8 billion out of N10,339,549,201 already released to the agency vide warrant N0 W01/00006938, for the execution of capital projects leaving it with only N2.3billon

“But due to the compelling need for FERMA to repair and maintain dilapidated roads across the nation, the National Assembly graciously approved a total of N21,816,546,653, out of which only N10,399,549,201 was recently released this October to the agency for execution of some critical projects, which includes so many failed and bad roads across the country

“As it is, FERMA had already prioritised its capital projects, while it has advertised in line with the Procurement Act 2007 that contractors desirous to work, for the agency have spent earned monies to buy Tender documents which they are now bound to lose, by the directive from DG Budget Office.

The lawmaker recalled that, “the funds already released to FERMA were part of the funds already appropriated for FERMA in the Appropriation Act of 2016, passed by parliament, which is already a law and that any amendment to this law can only be carried out by the National Assembly.

He then raised the alarmed that “if this trend is not quickly nipped in the bud, it will go a long way in derailing implementation of projects in the country.”

When the motion was put into voice vote presiding officer, Hon Yussuff Lasun, it was unanimously supported by members.