The Debt Management Office (DMO) has blamed the National Assembly for its inability to issue bonds to clear the debts owed oil marketers in the country.
According to the DMO, the delay in securing the approval of the National Assembly for the bonds issue has incapacitated it.
The DMO disclosed this in a statement issued in Monday, adding that despite the approval of the Federal Executive Council in July 2017 to issue bonds to liquidate the debt owed to oil marketers, it could not do much without the approval of lawmakers.
It would be recalled that oil marketers had cried out at the weekend over the crippling subsidy debts the Federal Government is owing them, and lamented that most of their members’ businesses have been grounded while banks are taking over the premises and assets of member companies over unpaid bank loans.
The DMO however said that it only secured the approval of the National Assembly on September 26 and had met with the oil marketers in Abuja last week to brief them on how far it had gone towards raising the funds.
The DMO said: “The Federal Executive Council approved the establishment of the Promissory Note Programme and Bond Issuance to settle inherited local debts and contractual obligations due to various categories of creditors, including oil marketers in July 2017.
“These were unpaid obligations carried over from previous administrations. The amounts presented to FEC and subsequently to the National Assembly were derived by simply collating figures from various MDAs in order to kick-start the process.
“Given that these were largely unverified amounts, it became prudent on the part of Government to include processes that would be adopted in the implementation of the Programme that would ensure transparency and Value for Money before the Promissory Notes are issued.
“One of such processes is the validation of the amounts against each creditor by an international accounting firm operating in Nigeria.”
The DMO further stated that “Based on the approval by FEC, the DMO initiated steps towards the implementation of the programme, one of which is the appointment of advisers using the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
“However, since the programme involves the issuance of sovereign debt instruments, which require the approval of NASS, as provided in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, there was a limit to what the DMO could do without a NASS approval.
“It is on record that the required NASS approval was only received on September 26, 2018 through a letter from the Clerk of the National Assembly.”