The Senate Committee on Gas has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Finance Minister, Wale Edun, demanding that he provide information on the award and disbursement of over N100bn to companies involved in the handling of the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (PCNG) projects, which are believed to have violated the Public Procurement Act 2017.
Noting that the request was made following the PCNG's intention to disburse another N130bn to undisclosed companies, the lawmakers highlighted the Gas Committee's earlier warning that such expenditure on the gas infrastructure development projects without the approval of the National Assembly would be considered as extra-budgetary spending and a clear violation of the public procurement Act.
In their earlier commendation of President Bola Tinubu for the CNG initiatives, the committee requested the President to urgently present a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to cover the expenses.
The letter sent to the finance minister, requesting details of the award and disbursement of over N100bn, was a result of a new petition by a group called "Good Governance and Transparency Front". The petition accused the chairman of the Steering Committee of Presidential CNG Initiative of approving the funds' disbursement to cronies without following due process and the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
The group, in their letter to the committee, further highlighted that the PCNGI had not made any progress despite the disbursement of N100bn, as the PCNG failed to involve experts in gas development in the execution of the project.
Jarigbe Agom, the Chairman of the committee, urged the minister to send the committee comprehensive records of the award and disbursement of over N100bn, along with a list of companies responsible for the project.
Requesting a comprehensive brief, the committee in a letter dated January 9 and made available to journalists on Wednesday, is seeking information on the utilization of the N100bn allocated by the Federal Government.
The letter partly read, “The committee is seeking detailed information on the process followed in the award and disbursement of funds to the companies benefiting from the allocation. I would appreciate insight into the compliance of these processes with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007.
“Specifically, the committee is interested in understanding the steps taken in the opening of bids, the qualification criteria applied, and the subsequent awarding of contracts to the selected companies. Transparency and adherence to due process are crucial aspects of ensuring public trust and accountability in such initiatives.”