The Senate Committee on Trade and Investment has rejected the ministry’s 2019 Budget of N15.63 billion.
The rejection followed alleged discovery of an illegal Special Economic Zone Company, listed for appropriation when the Minister of Trade and Investment Dr Okechukwu Enelamah appeared for budget defence on Monday.
The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Sabo Mohammed while referring to item two on page seven of the budget booklet presented by the ministry, said the company was not known to be one of the 17 agencies under the ministry.
The ministry had in the course of the defence, presented the booklet containing 2019 budget proposals for all agencies under the ministry.
According to Mohammed, a document obtained by them from the Corporate Affairs Commission ( CAC) containing information on how the company was registered, shows that “it is a private company.
“Liability of the members are limited by share, which gives federal government 25 per cent and 75 per cent to private individuals.”
He directed the minister to forward detailed written explanation on how the company got into the appropriation list, its management staff list and its staff strength as well as statement of account before consideration of 2019 budget proposal.
Responding, Enelamah said the company was established through a Presidential Initiative and its approval was given at a Cabinet meeting held in May 2018 .
“One of the areas that this government has focused on is infrastructure. The second area is industrialisation and the two have something in common.
“If the government tries to do it alone, it would be extremely tasking.
“So the President directed that we should bring other partners that can combine with whatever monies we have to build world class infrastructure which led to the establishment of the company in partnership with other investors,” he said.