Over 100 MDAs risk reduction in 2023 budget – Senate
The Senate says it may be forced to slash the 2023 budget of over 100 government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), that failed to defend their expenditure in the 2017 -2022 service wide votes of the government.
The President of Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan said this at plenary on Wednesday, while responding to a point of order by Sen. Mathew Urhohide (PDP -Edo) over the MDAs flagrant disregard to invitations by Senate Committee on Public Accounts to explain their expenditure on the service wide votes in the years under review.
Lawan said any public officer who utilised public funds must be prepared to account for his activities in office.
“Any public officer, who expects to serve and utilises public funds appropriated by the National Assembly, must be prepared to account before the National Assembly, and any officer, who feels that he or she is above the law should quit.
“We will give them time to appear, and if they fail to appear before we pass the budget, we cut their budget for 2023.
“If the committee have gone through the process of inviting them, and they have no defence, for not appearing, then, we cut their money in 2023 budget,” lawan said.
Sen.Mathew Urhohide (PDP-Edo) who raised the motion, having cited order 42 and 95 of Senate rules, said the Senate empowered the public account committee to look into activities of MDAs, by urging their accounting officers to account for their expenditure on public funds.
According to him, there are some MDAs that blatantly refused to appear before the committee to give account of what they have spent on behalf of the people from the service wide votes.
He said the National Assembly was empowered by Section 89 of the Constitution to summon and compel the MDAs to explain their activities on utilisation of public funds appropriated by the Senate.
He said the Senate President could by virtue of his authority issue warrant of arrest on the concerned officials of the MDAs for refusal to appear to give explanation on expenditure of public funds.
Some of the MDAs that failed to appear before the committee to explain their expenditure on the utilisation of service wide votes included:
The Office of the Accountant General Of the Federation, Ministry Of Interior, State House, Budget Office of the Federation, Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc, Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, National Emergency Management Agency and Ministry Of Finance Budget And National Planning.
Others were National Commission For Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ministry Of Defence, Asset Management Co-Operation Of Nigeria, Nigerian Airforce and Office of the Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs.
The rest were the Ministry Of Petroleum Resources, National Inland Water Ways Authority Lokoja, Ministry Of Health, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Ministry Of Agriculture And Rural Development, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police Force and Federal Civil Service Commission. (NAN)