Contrary to reports, the Presidency has clarified that President Muhammadu Buhari has not approved $1bn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to purchase security equipment.
The senior special assistant to the president on National Assembly Matters (Senate) Senator ItaEnang made the clarification yesterday in a statement.
Noting that the process is still ongoing, Senator Enang said the request would be presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC)for approval and then forwarded to the National Assembly for the final approval.
He said, “In response to several issues raised about Security Fund sourced for at source from Excess Crude Account to combat security challenges in the country and the several misreading attending same, may I state as follows:
“That the said sum has not and cannot be approved for spending by Mr. President.
“ That in accordance with best practices, Mr. President, having received approval of sum from National Economic Council made up of all the governors, now had a meeting with the Minister of Defence, Service Chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police, among others to collate the need of each of the services and the money available for appropriation.
“That Mr. President and the meeting having collated the need of each service and the amount involved may now present same to the Federal Executive Council for detailed consideration, or in exercise of Presidential powers may communicate same to the National Assembly for appropriation.
“That this may be done as usual upon Mr. President consulting prior with the leadership of the National Assembly through the whole body of principal officers or the presiding officers of each chambers only, before originating the communication to the National Assembly .”
He said that as at now, the process of approving the money for use is inchoate and still undergoing executive standard operating procedure before laying same before the National Assembly for appropriation.
He added that the processes now being worked on is to fast-track this procedures so that it may be forwarded to the National Assembly while it is still considering the 2018 Appropriation Bill (Budget) for incorporation as Mr. President’s supplementary request under the 2018 Budget, or if completed, after the 2018 budget, it may be forwarded as supplementary Appropriation Bill.
Enang reiterated that the President has not approved the sum for any release of this procurement or application howsoever.
He further explained that in any case, before any sum is released from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, there must be Appropriation Act, Vote of Charge , Warrant which is legally predicated on appropriation authorisation Sub-head under the Act .
He stated that the executive is conscious of the provisions of the Section 80 (3) and (4) of the 1999 constitution which states: “(3) No moneys shall be withdrawn from any public fund of the Federation, other than the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, unless the issue of those moneys has been authorised by an Act of the National Assembly.
“No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.”
He pointed out that the executive is also conscious of the provision of Sections 4 and 5 of the 2017 Appropriation Act (relating to Excess Crude Account) and would not take any action in breach thereof.
“ In summary, ladies and gentlemen, the said sum can only be spent upon, and in the manner as shall be approved by the National Assembly, and Assented to in Appropriation Act or supplementary Appropriation Act,” he stated .
LEADERSHIP recalls that last week the minister of Defence, Mansur Dan – Ali disclosed that President Buhari had approved the release of $1 billion for the procurement of security equipment to fight insecurity in the country.
According to him “What I can add, after all that I have said is to inform you that of recent, our leader, President MuhammaduBuhari gave approval for the purchase of more equipment for the military, worth $1 billion.”