The House of Representatives on Monday said its investigation over the spending of N1.7 trillion on the implementation of the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) is not connected to the office of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
The chairman House Committee on Public Procurement, Wole Oke, said this when the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance appeared before an investigative hearing into the audit queries on the financial activities of the NSIP between 2016-2017, Thisday reports.
Mr Oke said the House understands that the office of the vice president was responsible for the monitoring and policy formulation of the SIP’s. He, however, noted that issues bordering on procurement were handled by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning from 2016 to September 2019, when the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs was created.
“By our records, the office of the Vice President is responsible for policy formulation and monitoring of the National Social Investment Programme. Issues bordering on procurement were handled by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, which has now been merged with the Ministry of Finance, he said.
“We have it on record that the Ministry of Budget and National Planning handled all issues of procurement from 2016 to September 2019 when the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs was created.
“Our request is for the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to make available all relevant procurement records for the various items under the NSIP.
“Our investigation has nothing to do with the office of the Vice President but the Ministry. A total of N1.79 trillion was budgeted for the programme for which over N600 million was expended.
“The Bank of Industry (BoI) has appeared and made some explanations. The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs has also appeared and made their presentation on N-Power. We have also had a presentation from the Programme Officers of the other three programmes, Mr Oke said.
“Our interest now is on the Home School Feeding Programme and the ministry should give us records of procurement. Nobody should make a mistake about that and our mission. We are not available for anybody to use to malign anybody. We want to put that on record that we are not investigating the office of the vice president,” he added.
The House Committee on Public Procurement had, last week, summoned past and current officials involved in the budgetary execution of the social intervention programmes between the four-year period in review.
The officials invited are a former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, her successor, Zainab Ahmed, and the Humanitarian Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq – permanent secretaries including desk officers at the National Social Investment Office (NSIO).
The officials were summoned after members of the committee asked for the procurement records of N191bn the Special Assistant to the President on Home School Feeding Programme, Dotun Adebayo, allegedly said were spent.
“As members, we can feel the N-Power beneficiaries in the various local government areas and constituencies; nobody is asking you questions about it. But Dotun claimed that (the) Auditor-General said they spent N191bn and we are asking him to retire same. It is as simple as that.
“Give us records, what you did with N191bn. Who did you pay to? That is the question we are asking. We should be able to report to Nigerians. That is what we are asking for. Give us the procurement report and that ends there,” Mr Oke had said.
The NSIP includes the school feeding programme for primary school pupils, the N-Power for jobless graduates, the conditional cash transfer for elderly vulnerable Nigerians, and the government empowerment programme that includes Tradermoni – giving microloans to small-scale traders.
The programme started under the control of the vice president but since the commencement of the second tenure of the Buhari administration, Ms Umar Farouq has been in charge.