Senate quizzes CBN Gov over multiple interest rates on projects

The Senate Committee on Finance has summoned the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, to appear before it on Monday, November 4.

The CBN Governor is expected to explain the reason behind the exchange rates the apex financial body used for three key projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF).

It was reported that the projects are being funded with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority.

The PIDF was earmarked from dollar-denominated Sovereign Wealth Fund to partly fund the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; Second Niger Bridge; Abuja-Kano Expressway; East-West Road as well as Mambilla Hydro Project.

The first three projects had already been funded to the tune of N163.8bn.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola, announced the summons in a statement on Sunday by his Special Adviser on Media, Chief Kayode Odunaro.

Adeola demanded the appearance of the CBN governor during an interactive session between the panel and the Managing Director of NSIA, Mr Uche Orji.

The statement explained that Orji and his management team had told the committee that the contracts for the projects were denominated in naira and that the CBN exchange rate for the disbursed fund was N325 to a dollar instead of the official rate of N305.

The Committee Chairman said, “This committee will like to see the contract documents for these projects; and why the exchange rate for the dollar to naira was at N325 to a dollar; instead of the official rate of N305 in a government to government transaction for these key infrastructure projects.

“We are not indicting the NSIA or conducting an investigation or probe of the CBN. But we like to know the reason this different rate was used; but we are inviting the CBN to appear together with the NSIA on Monday.”

Adeola commended the NSIA for what it has done so far in terms of funding healthcare; education, infrastructure and investment in fertiliser production.

He, however, called for caution in disbursement. Even as he sought more investment in diverse areas to grow the $1.5bn Sovereign Wealth for its contributors like the Federal Government; state governments; local governments; and the FCT to reap the benefits of its establishment.

Ng daily

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