The secretary to the government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal has revealed that a number of activities in this year’s Democracy Day celebration were not paid for.
According to him, the federal government still owes, and has not fully paid up, as the budget for the programme was inadequate.
He stated this when members of the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs, paid a visit to his office.
The SGF said: “The budget for this year’s democracy day was N33 million, and we had to do it on credit, we are yet to pay. There are lots of retreat which ought to be organised but there’s no money to do any. The last time we got any release was in August.”
He also revealed that payment and entitlements of some institutions and leaders have not been made due to shortage of funds.
He said, “Others affected are Inter religious council, Traditional rulers council and so on. For some reason, we have been writing and writing, but there has been no response. And there is presently no money to pay them.”
He also lamented, “Look around, you’ll see government vehicles breaking down every now and then. Really, I know the challenges the budget office is facing, but the truth is the funds are not just there. In any government, there are certain agencies that must be served first before others. So we have agreed on that.
“However, we will lean harder on the finance ministry to see that the situation is turned around”, he said.
According to him, “As SGF I’m getting embarrassed and demeaned by chasing money coming from demands. All MDAS come to me for things to be done, and it is not quite easy, but we try our best.
“Last year, these political appointees had nothing. As to assistance, we really need assistance, if not but to retain all what we have budgeted for,” he added.
The lawmakers who took turns to slam the SGF over the development, emphasized the need to draw the attention of the Budget Office and Ministry of Finance to the development with a view to having same addressed immediately.
Vice Chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, faulted the office of the SGF over replication of 2016 budget details in its 2017 budget proposal.
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