The House of Representatives’ Committee on Finance has vowed to block allocation to Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority if it fails to present its 2022 budget proposal to the National Assembly for consideration and passage.
The committee, at its 2022 budget defence session in Abuja on Tuesday, said it would write the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, who was present at the venue, to stop releases to the NSIA until the Authority complies with the directive.
Chairman of the committee, James Faleke, at the opening of the session, faulted the argument being raised by the NSIA to justify its refusal to present its budget to the National Assembly.
Faleke said, “This agency of government has refused consistently to bring their budget before the National Assembly. We have spoken to the MD; we have advised him that it is purely against the Constitution.
“We have spoken to the Minister of Finance that it is purely against the Constitution; and the Minister of Finance was never ever in support of that; that the agency must present their budget. Unfortunately, the agency is relying on its law which says that its board shall approve its budget, and I have told the agency that the law, whether made in error or rightly, is not superior to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We are using this opportunity to inform that agency; if they fail to present their budget, there would be no appropriation for that agency this Year 2022. We would make it clear. I am making it very clear. The Accountant-General is here; we will write you…there would be no disbursement of funds from any of our Federation Accounts to the agency. That is the opinion of the committee.”
Faleke, in his closing remarks after a session that lasted about two hours, further warned the NSIA.
“We have made it clear on Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority that if they don’t present their budget, there would be no appropriation for them this Year 2022…very certain, and there are no two ways about it. You cannot be spending our money and you tell us as a parliament…you disobey the Constitution and then we would keep quiet and look at you. That will not work.
“This is a warning to them. And if they are in agreement with any foreign government, they must know that foreign governments obey laws and here, they must obey laws,” the lawmaker said.
According to the online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, the NSIA manages Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, into which the surplus income produced from the country’s excess oil reserves is deposited.
“This sovereign wealth fund was founded for the purpose of managing and investing these funds on behalf of the government of Nigeria. The fund was established by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Act, signed in May 2011, and commenced operations in October 2012.
“It is intended to invest the savings gained on the difference between the budgeted and actual market prices for oil to earn returns that would benefit future generations of Nigerians. The fund was allocated an initial US$1billion in seed capital, and an additional $0.5billion has been contributed to date by the current administration,” Wikipedia partly said.