Business Hilights
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Senate to investigate Govs’ pressure on Paris club refunds tomorrow

Palpable running battle between the Senate and state governors on the origin of Paris Club money and refunds will begin this week.

Signal to this battle was given during the last week’s plenary when Senator Samuel Anyanwu from Imo State drew the attention of his colleagues to the issue of the funds given to governors by President Buhari.

He sought to know who gave the approval, since the National Assembly was not consulted before the disbursement.

Anyanwu in his comments said “I am worried about the Paris club refunds. Governors are asking for more funds. Where is this money from? The Senate has not given any approval. Who gives the approval and what is the money for?

“I heard the president scolding them. The president was asking them how they sleep at night even when they do not pay salaries. They have received billions of naira. I feel worried. Even the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has told the president to stop giving bailout funds to governors. If you look at front pages of newspapers, you will see the issue there. This is the problem. If my colleagues will allow me, I want to bring this as a motion at our next legislative day. I so submit.”

However, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki sought the leave of his colleagues to approve that a proper motion be brought to the floor at another legislative day.

The next legislative day is October 24, 2017. Since no further comments were permitted by Saraki, lawmakers thereafter agreed that Anyanwu should present a proper motion at another next week.

Business Hilights recalls that President Buhari, in 2015, some weeks after he assumed office, approved bailout funds to states to settle salary arrears, without any recourse to the National Assembly.

The current heat from governors on President Buhari stemmed from last week’s Tuesday meeting when governors met with President Buhari before he departed for a summit in Turkey and demanded the release of the outstanding Paris Club refunds by November, to enable them to include it in their 2018 budget appropriation.