Contrary to what it presents to Nigerians, as its yearly budgetary expenditure of an average of N4.5tn in the last two years, the Federal Government blows about N20tn within each of the year in review.
The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives stated this on Sunday in Abuja, adding, that an ongoing examination of the finances of government and its 601 agencies showed that the N4.3tn given as the total spending budget for this year was a “far cry” from the reality.
Chairman of the committee, Mr. Adeola Solomon-Olamilekan, who spoke on the issue, explained that, unknown to Nigerians, the N4.3tn, for example, did not include the expenditure of many “statutory and extra-ministerial departments” of government.
He added that his committee found out that these other agencies not captured in the regular budget, generated and spent their money as it pleased them without seeking the approval of the National Assembly.
Punch reports that the lawmaker put the budget of these other bodies at over N16tn.
Solomon-Olamilekan explained further, “The N4.9tn, N4.6tn or N4.3tn, as the case may be, is the budget that the whole Nigerians are listening to but in the true sense of it, the budget of other statutory and extra-ministerial departments put together is about N16tn.
“So, the total overall budget year in year out is over N20tn, which the executive arm operates, but nobody is asking questions as to the implementation of all these budgets.
“Nobody is bringing information on the implementation of all these budgets; and this is one area Nigerians need to start asking questions in order to move this country forward.”
Solomon-Olamilekan stated that though the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, made adequate provisions on how these bodies should be held accountable, the law was observed in breach.
He cited the “stifling” of the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation as one of the ways to shield government agencies from opening their books to scrutiny.
Solomon-Olamilekan said this was done by starving the office of funds “over the years” to a point where it no longer had the financial power to effectively audit the accounts of the implementation agencies of government and its extra-ministerial departments.
For instance, he revealed how the government cut the capital budget of the AGF’ office from N1.9bn to a “meagre” N100m in 2015.
The lawmaker said his committee was at a loss on how the AGF’s office would audit the accounts of 601 agencies with N100m and the country’s 144 foreign missions.
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