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Senate Threatens To Cancel 2023 Budgets Of 100 MDAs If …

Senate has threatened to cancel the 2023 budgetary allocations to 100 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at federal level if within one week from today, December 7, they fail to appear before it to explain how they spent the Service Wide Vote (SWA) allocations from 2017 to 2021.

Speaking in Abuja today, after raising a point of Order, by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, condemned the refusal of the MDAs to appear despite several correspondences to them.

The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan invoked the powers of the Senate, threatening the 100 federal government owned agencies with zero budget allocation in 2023.

He expressed concern that the affected MDAs have consistently refuse to  honour invitations of its committee for explanations on service wide vote expenditure from 2017 to 2021.

According to Lawan, the agencies must come and defend what they have spent against the backdrop that they appear before the Senate for budget defence.

He said that the National Assembly appropriated the money and therefore, they must honour invitations of the Senate when called for explanations.

He stressed that any public officer who accepted to serve and spend any public funds appropriated must be here (in the Senate), and that anyone who refuses to do that should quit.

He said that in the next one week, if the name of an agency is here, it should be invited and refusal to come, nothing should be given to the MDA in the 2023 budget.

The affected 100 agencies included

The State House, Presidential Fleet

Ministry  of Finance, Budget and National Planning

Nigeria  Army, Navy, Airforce, Police

The Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC )

Office of the Accountant General of the Federation

Ministry of Interior

Budget Office of the Federation

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)

Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)

Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading PLC ( NBET)

Ministry of Defence

Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria

Office of the Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs.

Petroleum Resources

National Inland Water Ways (NIWA)

Federal Ministry of Health

Presidential Amnesty Programme

Ministry of Agriculture and Development

Federal Civil Service Commission

Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Authority

National Health  Insurance Scheme

Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy

Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND

Ministry of Sports and Youth Development

Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Correctional Service Board

Border Communities Development Agency

Ministry of Environment

National Hajj Commission of Nigeria

Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission

Federal Ministry of Information and Culture

Nigeria Defence Academy

National Human Rights Commission

National Centre for Disease Control

National Security Adviser (NSA).

Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development

 National Examination Coucil (NECO)

Nigeria Police Acadamy

Ministry of Special Duties

Presidential AIR Fleet

Ministry of Science and Technology

Ministry of Mine and Steel Development

National Environmental Standards Regulatory Agency (NESREA)

Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON)

North East Development Commission.

And others.

Earlier, Urhoghide  came  through orders  42 on Personal Explanation and 95 ( 5) ( a)  of the Senate Standing Rules, Sections 61 (1); 88 ( and (2b); 89 (1); 89 (1) (c); 89 (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, to complain to his colleagues on alleged recalcitrance of heads of the affected agencies to honour invitations sent to them by his committee for required appearance before it for explanations on service wide vote given to them by the Presidency totalling N1.9trillion .

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According to Urhoghide, Service Wide Vote is extra budgetary spending made to fill shortfalls in capital and recurrent expenditures, which are not audited by the Auditor General of the Federation and not known to various standing committees of the National Assembly.

The Chairman of Public Accounts Committee, who hinged his complaints on provisions of the  1999 Constitution ( as amended),  said that heads of the affected agencies failed to honour several invitations sent to them to make required explanations on service wide vote spendings from 2017 to 2021.

Urhoghide who said that  the affected agencies are also those who refused to appear before the committee to answer queries slammed on them by the Auditor General of the Federation on alleged financial infractions, added thst  heads of agencies totalling about 100,  indicted in various  reports forwarded to the Public Account Committee  by Office of  Accountant General of the Federation  on disbursements and spending of Service Wide Vote from 2017 to 2021, in line with provisions of sections 62, 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution, have repeatedly failed to appear before the committee.

“This, to us , is against the Constitution and policy of accountability and transparency of the federal government.

“I crave your indulgence that we invite through your order either by way of warrant of arrest or anything so that these agencies can comes that we can complete our report and submit to this Senate.“

Senator Lawan  requested for the list of the affected agencies, read them out to all the Senators and ordered that they should appear before the Committee within one week or risk zero budget allocation in 2023 as far as capital expenditure component is concerned. Lawan said,

“Your point of order are sustained fully and completely, totally sustained. You are right on the need to bring to the plenary your grievances. Reading this list at plenary gives the agencies opportunity to now know if they were not aware before for those that may claim ignorance and I am taking the opportunity here to advise that in the next one week, if the name of any agency is here, that agency should reach the committee on public account of the Senate to sort out when the agency would appear before the committee.

“If there is no communication whatsoever and no cogent and verifiable reasons are given, we will slash the budget of the agencies as far as capital component is concerned.

Heads of the affected agencies must take this very seriously because any serving  public officer must be ready to render accounts  on public funds  and if not ready to do so, should quit , since nobody should be above the law.“

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