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Senators reject Trade ministry’s budget over ‘misappropriation’ of N177m revenue

The Senate Committee on Trade and Investment Monday rejected the 2022 budget estimates of the Ministry of Trade and Investment over alleged...

The Senate Committee on Trade and Investment Monday rejected the 2022 budget estimates of the Ministry of Trade and Investment over alleged misappropriation of N177m retained from its 2021 internally generated revenue.

The panel said the ministry failed to furnish it with the details of how the money was spent. 

The Minister of State, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, had told the committee at budget defence session that the ministry generated N1.19bn out of the projected N1.6bn revenue in 2021. 

She said the money was realised between January and September 2021 from the three revenue generating departments of the ministry.

She said the Department of Weights and Measures generated N578m out of which N177m was retained for its internal expenditures.

A member of the committee, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, said the presentation by the minister and her team suggested that the N177m spent was misappropriated because it was not appropriated by the National Assembly. 

The chairman of the committee, Senator Saidu Alkali, asked: “How did you spend the 20% you retained from the revenue you realised? Where are the details? You’re not supposed to tell us this is how it’s spent. It’s supposed to be clearly written under a subject.

“Who gave you the authority to spend N177m and how did you spend it because you’re supposed to get the approval of the National Assembly?”