ABUJA, Nigeria – A report from the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, has indicated that an estimated N3.8 trillion was improperly used by numerous government ministries, departments, and agencies, MDAs, in a span of four years.
These funds were sourced from the Service Wide Votes, SWV, the government’s contingency fund included in the annual budget.
The Senate Public Accounts Committee, led by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, conducted an investigation into the disbursement of N5 trillion from the SWV to over 200 government agencies during the tenure of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari from 2017 to 2021.
Out of the 207 government agencies invited for the probe, only 119 showed up. The committee’s report, presented during Wednesday’s plenary session, was adopted by the Senate.
Urhoghide, during the presentation, noted that several agencies obtained funds from the SWV without due recourse to the National Assembly committees tasked with oversight of these agencies.
He added that some MDAs didn’t formally request the funds sent to them by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, while others misused the funds for unrelated expenditures.
“Hundreds of billions of naira were claimed to have been used for the purposes of paying salary shortfalls whereas such agencies had already collected appropriation for personnel emolument and were on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS, platform,” Urhoghide stated.
Upon the adoption of the committee’s recommendations, the Senate called for the executive to utilise the supplementary budget approach for emergencies rather than the SWV, which is seen as an erosion of the approval powers of the National Assembly.
The Senate also recommended granting the Auditor-General for the Federation full access to audit SWV expenditures annually and report to the National Assembly.
Furthermore, the committee called for a thorough investigation into the operations of IPPIS due to rising cases of irregularities within the system.
The report affected multiple agencies, including the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, various Ministries, the State House, Nigerian Army, Navy, Airforce, and others.
The findings highlight the need for stricter oversight and accountability in government spending, ensuring that appropriated funds are spent as intended for the benefit of the Nigerian people.