Senate panel summons Okonjo-Iweala, others over PTDF

Senate panel summons Okonjo-Iweala, others over PTDF

Worried by the non-release of funds due to Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) for the past three years, the Senate on Wednesday summoned the Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Accountant General of the Federation and Governor of Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

The Senate committee Chairman on Petroleum Upstream, Senator Emmanuel Paulka, who issued the summon on behalf of the Senate after its interactions with the management of PTDF over budget implementation.

Regretting what it described as unfortunate situation that has illegally persisted for past three years wondered how the agency managed to survive without grants since 2010 and vowed to take the matter to a logical conclusion.

“The fund for PTDF is statutory. Nobody has the right to withhold this money we are going to invite CBN governor, minister of finance and accountant general, to explain to us why the funds have been withheld. We will help you locate where your money is”, he said.

He also demanded to know the investment portfolio of the PTDF and details of their programmes.

The Executive Secretary, PTDF, Engineer Muttaka Rabe Darma had earlier told the committee that the Agency has been operating on a grant of $100m since 2010.

“If monies are not released all their contracts including ongoing ones will be stopped. We have written to the ministry of finance for cash backing since 2010 but no response.” He said

He noted that although PTDF has money to run its academic programmes for the next eight months, they may be no fund to continue unless funds are released early enough.

Meanwhile, the Senator Bukola Saraki led Senate Committee on Environment had directed Total Nigeria to ensure continuous provision of relief materials to victims of gas eruption in 17 communities in Rivers State, pending when people return to their farm lands.

It observed that since the eruption occurred in April, the people have been prevented from going to their farms and other sources of livelihood.

The Committee further observed that since the incident occurred, Total has failed to carry out health care mechanisms as well as post impact assessment to find out the effect on the Community.

It also noted that Total lacked management commitment to safety, stressing that workers operate without helmet and other standard procedure pointing out that the information provided to the Committee were not reliable and designed to mislead the Committee and Nigerians.