The Senate committee on finance led by the Lagos-West Senator, Olamilekan Adeola, has set up a committee to investigate the Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company, Itake, Kogi State, over nonperformance and mismanagement of funds.
According to the committee, the company has been receiving Federal Government funds since 2008 but has not produced any iron or steel nor generated any revenue despite receiving yearly allowances.
The resolution to investigate the organisation was moved by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, followed a motion adopted by members of the Senate Committee on Finance at day 3 of the interactive session with MDAs on Thursday.
The panel would be led by Sani Musa as Chairman, while members include, Opeyemi Bamidele, James Manager,Michael Nnachi and Sadik Suleiman.
The committee is to investigate the budget of the organisation which comprises of capital recurrent and overhead from 2008 to date and is expected to turn in its report in two weeks. Earlier, Chairman of the Committee said the agency was a major source of wastage of government fund, following its moribund nature since 2008.
He said the agency had been inactive for 14 years despite allocations of funds for capital, recurrent and overheads.
Adeola said N1.8bn was released as capital fund, while N2.5 billion out of the N3.45b approved budget has be cumulatively released to the organisation as at July 2022.
Adeola said it was worrisome that a fund for capital, recurrent and overhead has been released to the agency since 2004 with no performance to show. He said there was no reason for government to continue to fund an agency that has been out of operation since 2008. “The organisation is deserted. Who are you paying salaries to? What project have you executed?” Adeola rhetorically asked.
Bamidele said, “This is an entirely fearful situation and we will fund our budget by borrowing. And we have an agency that is meant to be developing our steel sector and they have not done anything since 2008.”
Also, Senator Jubril Isah accused the management of the agency of abandoning its mandate to some perceived social responsibility outside the mandate.
He urged the management to desist from further construction projects not covered on its mandate and face them production of irons and steels and other projects assigned to the organisation.
Responding, the Sole Administrator of NIOMCO, Mr Augustus NKechika , said the agency was mandated to stop operation since 2008, following the planned concession of the organisation, that has resulted into litigation. He, however, revealed that efforts was been made to resolve the matter by the Federal Government.
He also revealed that the organisation has 700 staff in its payroll, saying that IPPIS was responsible for payment of staff salaries.
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