Nigeria: FG, Nass to Probe Buhari's N22.7trn Ways and Means Loan

21 February 2024

The Federal Government has initiated moves to audit the N22.7 trillion ways and means loan approved by the immediate past administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, on Tuesday, at the Public Wealth Management Conference in Abuja, where he explained that the details would be released soon.

The Senate also on Tuesday said it will launch an investigation into the N30 trillion ways and means advances the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) extended to the federal government under Buhari.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio disclosed this following the presentation and adoption of a report by the Joint Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Finance, National Planning, Agriculture and Appropriation during plenary.

The ways and means is a loan facility the CBN gives the federal government to fund budget shortfalls.

The loan facility has been a subject of controversy, with experts expressing concern that CBN had exceeded its lending threshold to the federal government, against extant laws.

The Finance Minister is said; "We have to stem liquidity. The Central Bank has led the way in pointing out that the ways and means have to be tailed down and eliminated and that is what we agree with.

"We are doing in that direction, there was an inherited amount of N22.7trn in backlogs. We are auditing it and it is like when I am ready to pay a loan from a bank and I ask for an audit before finding the agreed sum to pay.

"But apart from that, how do you get your ways and means down? We have to get revenues up and expenditure reduced as much as possible."

Speaking in the same vein, Akpabio said an ad hoc committee will, on Wednesday, be constituted to probe how the loan was used.

"The adhoc committee be set up to interrogate the details of the ways and means and their disbursement and usage particularly the intervention programmes such as, Anchor Borrowers Programme, excess funding in the power sector, monies given to manufacturers and banks and airlines to which of course increased the current debt profile of the country" he said.

Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, (PDP Kebbi) blamed the current social and economic crises on the borrowing culture of former President Buhari's administration.

He urged the federal government to settle the N30 trillion debt in order to reduce money supply.

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