Senate discover N16 billion liability in Environment ministry’s 2022 budget

The Senate Committee on Environment revealed on Monday that the Ministry of Environment’s 2022 budget includes a N16 billion debt due by state governments to be serviced.

Ike Ekweremadu, the Committee’s Chairman and former Deputy Senate President, revealed this on Monday after presenting his budget to the Appropriations Committee, claiming that state governments, not the federal government, were responsible for the debt.

Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, dropped the hint during the presentation of his committee’s report to the Committee on Appropriations in Abuja.

Senator Ekweremadu expressed disappointment that identical funds totaling roughly N6 billion were included in the 2021 budget, despite the fact that his Committee had already raised concerns with the Ministry of Environment.

The fact that additional N16 billion debt was added in the 2022 budget for the federal government of Nigeria to service was termed by him as terrible.

He explained that the loan was approved by a global institution for state governments in the country rather than the federal government, with a ten-year moratorium before the states government could begin repaying the loan, and questioned why the ministry continues to reflect it in each year’s budget cycle.

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He urged the Appropriations Committee to write to the Ministry of Finance to figure out how to get the N16 billion back.

Senator Ekweremadu, who did not name the states that received the loan when answering questions from reporters, predicted a great scheme to defraud the federal government.

Ekweremadu expressed confidence that the Senate Appropriations Committee would get to the bottom of the issue and handle the case in Nigerians’ best interests.

In addition, he stated that over 692 million trees will be planted in eleven states in the North to combat desertification in the region.

He went on to say that the trees would be planted thanks to the Great Green Wall project.

He emphasized that the project has no set deadline, stressing that it was conceived to address concerns related to desertification in the country.

Senator Jibrin Barau, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, expressed satisfaction with the report and praised the Committee on Environment for its work.

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