Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jonathan probes ministries over abandoned projects et al...

Lead Image

Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan. Photo: SUNDAY ADEDEJI

The Federal Government is set to probe ministries, agencies and parastatals, and yesterday set up a committee to investigate all multibillion naira projects being executed by them. The three already slated for probe are the Ministry of Agriculture; the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation; and the Millennium Development Programme.

It is, however, not clear if the government intends to look into the books of the National Poverty Eradication Programme, where billions of naira have reportedly been misappropriated.

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan said he inaugurated the project monitoring committee to look at existing projects in different ministries, departments and agencies of government and ascertain those that have been executed and those that have not.

The committee’s points of reference include taking inventory of all on-going projects awarded by the federal government to assess the level of funding of each project; inspecting every project to determine work done and whether it is commensurate with the amount paid to the contractors; and evaluating the professional competence of the contractors handling the various projects to determine whether the level of execution is in accordance with the terms of the contract between the federal government and the contractor.

The committee will also examine the reasons why the projects were not executed in accordance with the terms of their contract at the time of the award; and to make appropriate recommendations to government on how to fast-track the completion of the projects.

The committee is headed by Ibrahim Bunu, with Bon Otti as Vice Chairman. The other members are: Iboro Ege-Edaba; Yomi Awoniyi; Caleb Olubolade; Aminu Mikailu; Idris Abubakar; Pius Okpa; Kate Okparake; Usman Abubakar; Gbola Tokun; Etodo Inyang; Akoh N. Ugbabe and Ummi Aminu.

Others are Olusegun Adedeji; Khalil Inuwa; B. K. Mohammed and O.O. Oluleye of the Office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, who will act as secretary.

Probe these projects

NEXT learnt that some of the projects to be investigated have not really taken off though the monies voted for them have been paid to the contractors; in many cases, the projects have been abandoned.

Most of the projects in the first stage of the probe are under the Agriculture ministry, which was allocated N166.9 billion in the 2009 budget.

The investigation is to cover the N30 billion awarded for dam projects in Katsina State, (N1.19 billion); the Ogbese dam project in Ekiti State (N5.49 billion); the Zobe dam project, also in Katsina State (N6.86 billion); the new Nigeria farmers project in Kwara State, (N2.82 billion); and other irrigation projects in various states put at the cost of N3.71 billion.

The team will also investigate the execution of the N10 billion silos projects in Abuja ( N4.17 billion); Katsina (N4 billion) and Uyo (N1.73 billion.)

The team is also investigating how the N4.73 billion released from the 2009 Agriculture budget, representing 25 per cent of government grants, for a tractor hiring scheme was spent.

The implementation and disbursement of the Federal Government’s 40 per cent credit facility, amounting to N9.52 billion, to 10 selected eligible rice processing companies for the procurement, installation and setting up of model rice processing mills in Adamawa, Benue, Ekiti, Niger, Kano, Taraba, Kebbi, Enugu, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Ogun and Anambra states will also come under the committee’s search light.

The committee has also been asked to review the utilization of the sum of N2. 8 billion, being 40 per cent of government grant to six selected private sector organizations as investors to establish export handling, preservation and conditioning centres in six locations across the country.


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