FG borrowed from recovered loots to fund budget – Minister

Nigerian Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed
Nigerian Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed

The Nigerian Government has reportedly been borrowing from recovered loots to fund the budget and has been unable to repay loans taken so far.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed while appearing before the House of Representatives committee investigation on recovered loots on Thursday, alongside the Accountant General of the federation, Ahmed Idris.

Daily Post reported that a member of the committee, Wole Oke questioned the withdrawal of about N39 billion withdrawn from the EFCC recovery account to fund the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Ministry of Defence.

The revelation attracted heavy criticism from the lawmakers who condemned the withdrawals from the accounts.

OKe said, "From the EFCC Account, you took N19 billion. You took a whole N19 billion from the EFCC account and paid an international organization. N19 whole billion is not remitted here. I am sure the accountant-general is familiar with this money. On what basis did you withdraw or transfer the money?"

Further reports revealed that the sum of N150 million, is reportedly missing, forcing the Chairman of the Committee, Adejoro Adeogun to query the Accountant General.

Ahmed disclosed that N50 billion was provided from recovered loot to fund the 2020 budget, adding that there were two types of recovery accounts – interim forfeiture and final forfeiture accounts.

According to her, in the case of interim forfeiture, the investigation had not been concluded, adding that such money could not be touched by the federal government.

She added that until investigations were concluded, the money could not be utilised.

The minister also said that the government borrowed from recovered loot to fund its operations, stressing that the unusual circumstances Nigeria found itself had made it difficult to pay back the loan.

Ahmed, however, said that the government was hoping to pay back in the 2022 budget.

However, before the meeting was adjourned to Friday, the committee also resolved to summon the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to present a detailed report of the account's current status.

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