The Nigerian Senate has discovered $400 million in intervention funds that has been held in banks and other financial institutions for a number of years.
This was disclosed by the lawmaker representing Kogi Central and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Content, Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, during a session with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
Out of the intervention funds uncovered, $30 million was budgeted for capacity building in oil and gas while $20 million was meant for women in oil and gas businesses.
Another $50 million of local content development fund available for research and development in oil and gas industries was also domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The senator questioned why the funds were lying fallow without Nigerians accessing them.
She also urged the NCDMB to make the funding opportunities accessible to ordinary Nigerians.
These funds, according to her, will attract oil and gas equipment manufacturers to Nigerian Oil and Gas Parks Scheme (NOGaPS) facilities, as well as increase access to affordable finance by the manufacturing entities.
She asked the board should explain to Nigerians who are not aware of the availability of the fund how they can access it.
As part of its oversight functions, the committee mandated the management to submit the audited account of NCDMB from 2021 to 2022, the budgetary performances of 2022 and 2023, and the nominal roll of the Board.
Responding to the senate committee, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr Felix Ogbo, revealed that the $300 million meant for the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund was still domiciled in the Bank of Industry.
According to the board, the entire $300 million has been disbursed. The board added that the total amount disbursed so far amounts to $330 million, explaining that as beneficiaries pay, the money would be given to others who want to borrow.
“Bank of Industry carries out quarterly monitoring to ensure the companies use the loan for the purpose it was meant for. We also carry out joint annual project monitoring with the Bank of Industry,” Ogbo added.