The Senate on Wednesday threatened to slash the allocations of about 100 government establisments, comprising ministries, departments and agencies that failed to respond to the queries raised against them in a report by the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan disclosed this after Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo) raised a point of order during plenary that agencies indicted in the audit report had refused to appear before his panel.
Urhoghide said his committee had invited heads of the affected agencies on several occasions to respond to queries raised in the Auditor-General’s report.
The lawmaker said sections 88 and 89 of the constitution empowered the parliament to summon federal government agencies to account for public funds they had spent.
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He, however, lamented that the agencies had vehemently refused to appear before his committee, saying the amounts involved were staggering.
He, therefore, urged the Senate President to issue warrant of arrest to compel the agencies to appear before the Public Accounts Committee.
Responding, Senate President gave the affected agencies one week ultimatum to appear before the committee or risk zero allocation in the 2023 budget.
Lawan said, “Reading this list at plenary, it gives the agencies the opportunity to now know, if they were not aware before for those that may claim ignorance.
“I am taking the opportunity to advise that, in the next one week, the agencies mentioned here should 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.”
Some of the agencies are: Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Transportation, Health, Works and Housing, Information and Culture, Mines and Steal Development, Police Affairs, Defence, Youths and Sports, Petroleum and Aviation.
Others are: State House, Budget Office, Presidential Fleet, Nigerian Army, Navy, Airforce, NAFDAC, Civil Defence, Presidential Amnesty Programme, FERMA, NEMA, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Debt Management Office, INEC, North East Development Commission (NEDC), Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dept Management Office, National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), National Examination Council (NECO), among others.