Members of the panel, who disclosed this to our correspondent on Sunday, explained that they would have started the probe if the senate leadership had inaugurated them on Tuesday.
However, they blamed the failure of the Senate to form a quorum for their plenary sessions last week for the delay in their inauguration.
A member of the committee, Senator Shehu Sani, said the committee would have started sitting immediately after their inauguration last Tuesday, but for the public holiday to mark Eid-El Maulud.
He said, “The inauguration will be done on Wednesday since we could not form a quorum at plenary on Tuesday. We also, did not form a quorum for the inaugural meeting last Thursday.”
Senator Dino Melaye, who is also member of the committee, said the panel had not started sitting because it had yet to be inaugurated.
He said, “We would have been inaugurated last Tuesday if we had formed a quorum during plenary. I understand that we are going to be inaugurated on Wednesday. We cannot start sitting without being inaugurated.”
Another member of the committee, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, when contacted, directed our correspondent to the chairman of the panel.
However, all efforts made by our correspondent to reach the chairman of the committee, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, were not successful as repeated calls made to his mobile phone did not connect, and he had yet to respond to a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.
Plenary at the Senate penultimate Wednesday, turned rowdy when the Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, asked the chamber to investigate the SIF programme.
According to the Bank of Industry’s website, the Special Intervention Fund for Medium and Small Scale Enterprises is under the National Enterprise Development Programme.
“The fund is a Federal Government of Nigeria’s initiative to provide subsidised loans to MSMEs at single digit (9 per cent per annum) all-inclusive interest rate,” the bank said.
Olujimi had alleged that beneficiaries of the fund were being asked to provide details of their Permanent Voter Cards and their loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress in an application form.
The Senate unanimously resolved to investigate the SIF, as well as the defunct Subsidy Reinvestment Empowerment Programme.
The panel was mandated to conduct their findings within two weeks and report back to the senate at plenary.
Other members of the panel are Danjuma Goje, Matthew Uroghide and Gbenga Ashafa.
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