The House of Representatives on Wednesday adopted a motion urging the federal ministries of finance and that of trade and investment to halt any further renewal of contract of the coordinator of the Growth and Empowerment (GEM) project.

The project is an initiative of the federal government, World Bank, and DFID to increase the growth of firms and employment in Nigeria

The lawmakers also asked that status quo be maintained in the best interest of the country.

The mover of the motion, Mark Gbilah (Benue – APC) said the one year contract of the present coordinator expires on February 15. He said there are allegations that the trade minister, Okechukwu Enelamah, in collaboration with the World Bank, is on the verge of renewing the contract for a further term of two years even though it has cost the country about N60 million from the SME funds for the initial one year contract.

He added that it cost about N120 million for the alleged two-year extension and that a director in the civil service can perform the job of the consultant.

“I’m worried at allegations that the renewal of the GEM project coordinator’s contract is intended to ensure the illegal diversion of $35 million from the project funds for the creation of an SME Fund proposed by the same project.” He said.

In supporting the motion, Abubakar Chika-Adamu (APC-Niger) said the jobs ought to be advertised adding that appointments had been skewed to favour only a section.

“We need to stop this political impunity.”

The House further mandated its committees on finance, industry, debts, aids and loans to investigate the circumstances surrounding the engagement of a consultant as GEM Project Coordinator and approval of the consultant’s remuneration.

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