States banking on some big refund for Federal Government projects they executed have been dissapointed.

President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the National Assembly’s approval for the refund of N488.7 billion to such states.

He accused the legislature of inflating debts incurred by the states on behalf of the Federal Government after approval had been given by the executive for reimbursements.

In turning down the National Assembly’s approval, the President demanded a review of the amount it approved as debt repayment to the states.

In a letter dated December 10, 2018 and addressed to Senate President Bukola Saraki, the President said that the National Assembly jacked up the amount by N890, 537, 630.03 above what the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved and forwarded to the National Assembly.

He noted that the FEC approved N487, 852, 988, 574.74 as reimbursement to some states, but the National Assembly approved N488, 743, 526, 204.77.

To Buhari, approving N890, 537, 630.03 higher than what the FEC approved is a breach of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.

This is contained in a letter titled: “Promissory note programme and a bond issuance to settle inherited local debts and contractual obligations on refund to state governments for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government,” read by Saraki yesterday.

The President also said that the National Assembly failed to list some states that were approved by FEC.

The letter reads: “The Senate may wish to refer to the letter from the National Assembly, referenced NASS/CNA/106/Vol.10/277 dated July 27, 2018, which communicated the approval by the National Assembly of the Promissory Note Programme and a Bond issuance to settle Inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations on Refund to State Governments for Projects Executed on Behalf of the Federal Government in the sum of N488,743 l,528,204.77.

“The Senate may wish to note that following a review of the approval by the National Assembly, the following were observed:

  • While the Federal Executive Council approved a total sum of N487,852,988,574.74 as reimbursement to State Governments, the National Assembly approved N488,743,526,204.77 implying that the amount approved by National Assembly was N890,537,630.03  higher than the amount approved by FEC;
  • While the Federal Executive Council approved reimbursement to 25 states, National Assembly approved reimbursement to only 21 states;
  • National Assembly did not approve any reimbursement for four states (Bauchi, Delta, Kogi and Taraba) whereas Federal Executive Council had approved reimbursements for them; and,
  • The amounts approved by the National Assembly for reimbursement to 21 states are higher than the amounts approved by FEC for reimbursement to 25 states.
  • The amount approved by National Assembly for reimbursement to each of the 21 states is higher than the amount approved by FEC for each of these states except for Adamawa, Jigawa, Kano and Niger.
  • The Senate may kindly note the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, which empowers the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to approve vendors and contract sums.
  • The amounts presented to National Assembly for approval were duly certified for reimbursement by the BPP, before they were approved by the FEC.
  • This was after the projects had been inspected through a programme under the chairmanship of the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
  • Since the BPP is charged with the responsibility of approving contract sums, and there is a need for compliance with the Public Procurement Act, 2007, I wish to request that you forward to us details relating to the amounts approved by National Assembly for the 17 states in excess of what was certified by BPP for necessary certification and approval
  • Furthermore, I wish to request for review of the reimbursement earlier submitted in favour of Bauchi, Delta, Kogi and Taraba states.
  • Meanwhile the Federal Government shall proceed with implementation on the following basis:
  • Where the amount approved by the National Assembly is the same as the amount approved by the FEC: The jointly approved amount would be reimbursed. The states are: Adamawa, Jigawa, Kano and Niger;
  • Where the amount approved by the National Assembly is higher than the amount approved by FEC, the amount approved by FEC would be reimbursed. The states are: Akwa lbom, Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, lmo, Kwara, Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Plateau and Zamfara; and
  • Where no amount was approved by National Assembly, no reimbursement will be made: The affected states are: Bauchi, Delta, Kogi and Taraba.
  • While looking forward to your timely consideration of this request to enable us to deal with the issue appropriately, please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”