The Senate Committee on Gas has written to Finance Minister Wale Edu, asking him to provide, within seven days, details of the award and disbursement of over N100 billion to companies engaged in handling the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (PCNG) projects, allegedly done in breach of the Public Procurement Act 2017.
The request comes on the heels of a fresh plan by the PCNG to release another N130 billion to an unspecified number of companies, ignoring an earlier warning by the Gas Committee that spending taxpayers’ money on the said gas infrastructure development projects without National Assembly approval would amount to extra-budgetary expenditure and a gross violation of the Public Procurement Act.
The committee had earlier commended President Bola Tinubu for the CNG initiatives but asked the president to urgently present a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to cover such spending.
However, the letter asking the finance minister to furnish the committee with details of the award and disbursement of over N100 billion was a sequel to a fresh petition by a group known as “Good Governance and Transparency Front,” accusing the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Presidential CNG Initiative of approving the disbursement of the funds to cronies without following due process and the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
The group also stated in the letter to the committee that the PCNGI has not made any progress even with the disbursement of 100 billion naira because the PCNG refused to engage experts in gas development in executing the project.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Gas Resources, Senator Jarigbe Agom, asked the minister to forward to the committee comprehensive records of the award and disbursement of over N100 billion and a list of companies engaged in handling the project.
The committee, in a letter dated January 9 and made available to journalists on Wednesday, said: “I am writing to request a comprehensive brief regarding the utilisation of 100 billion naira allocated by the Federal Government for developing gas infrastructure aimed at providing Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to Nigerians as an alternative to fossil fuels.”
Senator Jarigbe, who warned the PCNG of the grave consequences of going ahead with such disbursement without Senate approval, also said: “The committee is seeking detailed information on the process followed in awarding and disbursing funds to the companies benefiting from the allocation.
I would appreciate insight into compliance of these processes with the Public Procurement Act 2007 provisions.”
“Specifically, the committee is interested in understanding the steps taken in opening bids, the qualification criteria applied, and subsequent awarding of contracts to selected companies. Transparency and adherence to due process are crucial in ensuring public trust and accountability in such initiatives.”
“Kindly provide documentation and details regarding the committees that received funding, outlining the specific projects or initiatives they are undertaking to promote Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) use in the country.”
“I believe this information will be invaluable for our committee’s oversight responsibilities and will contribute to ensuring the government’s success and effectiveness in promoting alternative energy sources.”
“I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to receiving the requested information within seven days from receipt.”
“The requested information should be submitted in soft copy and 30 sets of hard copies to the clerk of the committee,” he said.