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Nigerian Lawmakers Probe N600 Billion Extra-budgetary Federal Expenditures ‘On Salaries’

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The Public Accounts Committee, PAC, of the House of Representatives has commenced probe of 115 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, MDAs, of the federal government alleged to have made over N600 billion extra-budgetary expenditures on salaries and wages.

The development was a fallout of the audit queries raised by Office of the Auditor General of the Federation from 2018 till date.

Wole Oke, the chairman of the committee, on Tuesday,  November 8, 2022, who addressed a team of auditors from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, led by the Acting Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Sylva Okolieaboh, said relying on circulars to act was a breach of the law.

The Audit query had read thus:  “Audit observed that 203 MDAs exceeded their personnel cost budget by N641, 757455,172.  01, while 115 MDAs had zero personnel cost, even though there was budget allocation for them.

”The sources of extra funds for salaries and wages in 103 MDAs were not disclosed, Also, the reasons for zero personnel budget allocation for the 115 MDAs were not stated, despite the fact that the MDAs under defence had annual budgets approved for them”.

While advising the office of the Accountant General of the Federation to investigate the sources of the extra budgetary expenditures and reasons for non-compliance with laid down financial regulations, the query also stated that failure to justify the sources and reasons for the expenditures, “the expenditures totalling N641.75 billion the officers in charge should be held pecuniary responsible”.

Oke insisted that the MDAs erred by not following the extant laws.

“This is an aberation of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, clear rape of financial regulation and Public Procurement Act.

”Nobody has the power to appropriate any money to any MDAs except the National Assembly through the budget from Mr President. Before the passage of Mr President’s appropriation bill, it has to pass through stages and after the passage, it has to be returned to Mr President for his ascent.”

Source: Vanguard

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