Emefiele summoned over exchange rates for infrastructure projects

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CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has been summoned by the Senate Committee on Finance.

Solomon Adeola, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, disclosed this in a statement via his Special Adviser on Media, Kayode Odunaro, saying Emefiele was set to appear before the committee on the 4th of November.

Emefiele has been invited to explain the reasoning behind the exchange rates the CBN used for three key projects (to the tune of N163.8 billion) under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), which are being funded by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

The PIDF was set aside from dollar-denominated Sovereign Wealth Fund to partly fund the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano Expressway, East-West Road and Mambilla Hydro Project..

In the statement, it was explained that Mr Orji and his management team had told the committee that the contracts for the projects were denominated in Naira and that the CBN exchange rate for the disbursed fund was N325 to a dollar instead of the official rate of N305.

Mr Orji stated that the NSIA had invested in sectors like healthcare, presidential fertilizer initiative, education, real estate, international financial instruments, since operations kicked off in the third-quarter of 2013 with capital to the tune of $1 billion.

The chairman of the committee requested to see the documents for the projects and why the exchange rate for the dollar to Naira was at N325 to a dollar instead of N305 in a government to government transaction for these key infrastructure projects.

“We are not indicting the NSIA or conducting an investigation or probe of the CBN but we like to know the reason this different rate was used but we are inviting the CBN to appear together with the NSIA on Monday,” Mr. Adeola said.

The  lawmaker commended the NSIA for what it had done so far in terms of funding healthcare, education, infrastructure and investment in fertiliser production.

He, however, called for caution in disbursement of funds.

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