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

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The Senate Committee on Environment on Monday disclosed that the sum of N16 billion debt owed by state governments was included in the Ministry of Environment’s 2022 budget to be serviced.

Chairman of the Committee and former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu disclosed this on Monday after he presented his budget to the appropriation committee, saying that the debt was owed by state governments and not the federal government.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who dropped the hint during the presentation of his committee’s report before the Committee on Appropriation in Abuja.

Senator Ekweremadu expressed dissatisfaction that similar money of about N6 billion was included in the 2021 budget, which his Committee had queried the Ministry of Environment in times past.

He described as unfortunate, the fact that another sum of N16 billion debt was included in the 2022 budget for the federal government of Nigeria to service.

He said the loan was approved by a world institution for states government in the country and not for the Federal, with a moratorium of ten years before the states government would begin the initiation of payment of the loan and wondered why the ministry keeps reflecting it in each year’s budget cycle.

He urged the Committee on Appropriation to write to the Ministry of Finance to find ways of retrieving the N16 billion.

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Fielding questions from newsmen, Senator Ekweremadu who failed to mention the states that collected the loan said he foresaw a grand plot to defraud the Federal Government.

Ekweremadu expressed confidence that the Senate Committee on Appropriation would get to the root of the matter and handle the case in the best interest of Nigerians.

Also speaking on the effort to control desertification, he said about six hundred and ninety-two million trees are to be planted in eleven states of the North to check desertification in the region.

He explained further that the trees planting would be funded by the Great Green Wall initiative.

He stressed that the initiative has no time frame attached to it, noting that the idea was aimed at addressing issues associated with desertification in the country.

Earlier, the Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation Senator Jibrin Barau expressed satisfaction with the report and commended the Committee on Environment for a job well done.

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