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Senate ad-hoc panel summons NIRSALS over allegation of uneven loan disbursements

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The Senate ad-hoc committee on uneven disbursement of loans, grants, interventions in the six-geopolitical regions by Nigeria’s Development banks on Monday summoned the management of Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) to appear before it unfailingly on Thursday.

The committee also mandated the management NIRSAL microfinance to come and face the committee over allegation of uneven disbursement of loans, grants, interventions among others.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Sani Musa (Niger East, APC) gave the ultimatum when the minister of state for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum appeared before the committtee.

Irked by absence of NIRSAL following repeated invitation, Musa said whether the Managing Director is there or not the management of the agency must appear before the committtee on Thursday.

Corroborating the position of the chairman, Senator Matthew Urhoghide (Edo south PDP) said “this committtee will not hesitate to invoke all constitutional provisions to compel agencies, including NIRSAL to appear, through the instrument of office of the Inspector General of Police.

“It is important to check all interventions, it will be totally out of place if NIRSAL is not here” Urhoghide said.

Specifically, Senator Musa further said “I think the committee is well guided on the reason why NIRSAL management must appear.

“We should write to NIRSAL to appear on Thursday, failure to do so we shall not hesitate to invoke the constitution,” he said.

According to the chairman of the committee, “we have heard what is going on in NIRSAL, the Managing Director has been suspended.”

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Consequently, he added, “I put it that NIRSAL management, NIRSAL microfinance should appear on Thursday at 11 am.”

Meanwhile, Senator Ayo Akinyelure (Ondo Central, PDP) tasked the minister of state with the disbursement of survival funds, saying people who applied for a grant of N3.2million for small scale enterprises, however, ended up with N300,000 and N250,000 for Ondo and Oyo states respectively.

“We were told at the point of disbursement the state government changed the name of the programme from NCares to Ondo cares and Oyo cares.

“We were told the state government hijacked and reduced the amount to N300,000 and 250,000 for Ondo and Oyo respectively and reduced the number of beneficiaries” Akinyelure said.

But responding the Executive Director of Bank of Industry, Shekarau Omar opined that the NCares was a world bank intervention grant, saying “we will get the details and come back. It is better for me to go back and get the details and come back within the week.”

The minister in her submission over the survival funds said at the inception of the disbursement, she wrote to state governments to appoint focal persons, stressing that “we approached the Senate”.

She added, “from my record, we did carry the Senate along, the leadership of the National Assembly at one point commended us under the survival find.”

Senator Musa, however, noted that “from the data before us, it has shown that there was equitable distribution of survival loans, saying henceforth they should reach out to senators.”

He explained that what the committee is doing is like a fact-finding so that at the end they will be able to tell Nigerians how intervention funds were disbursed.

Senator Musa while concluding the session told the minister “in our finding, should we need your attention, we shall not hesitate to invite you again.”


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