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General News of Wednesday, 7 December 2022


Senate threatens to cut budget of over 100 MDAs for ignoring summons

Nigerian Senate Nigerian Senate

The Senate has threatened to cut down 2023 budgetary allocation of over 100 Ministry, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the country.

The threat is based on the grounds that heads of the MDAs have repeatedly failed to appear before the Senate Public Accounts Committee to respond to queries raised in the Auditor General’s report.

In the report, from 2015 till date, the Auditor General indicted some MDAs for queries like frivolous spendings, misappropriation of funds, inability to account for money spent, payment if salaries to dead or retired staff, among others.

Some of the affected MDAs include Ministries of Interior, Finance, Health Information, Foreign Affairs, Women Affairs, Communications and Special Duties.

Others are the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Police, State House, AMCON, NHIS, NEDC, INEC, Debt Management Office, NEMA, NAFDAC, National Human Rights Commission, Ministry of Works and Housing, among others.

The Senate’s threat was sequel to a Point of Order raised by Matthew Urhoghide, chairman of the public accounts committee.

The lawmaker, under Orders 42 and 95 complained that the indicted MDAs have repeatedly ignored letters of invitation and summons sent out by the committee. He said they have failed to respond to queries raised by the Auditor General.

He reminded his colleagues that they are empowered by the Constitution and their Standing Orders to summon the indicted MDAs through arrest warrants or demand from the Senate President. He therefore prayed that they exercise their power.

In his response, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said any public officer who accepts to serve and use public funds, must be prepared to account for the funds. And anyone who feels he is above the law, should quit.

He read out the names of the MDAs, over 100 of them, and gave them one week to reach out to the public accounts committee and fix a date for hearing.

“If any of them fail to do so, with no communication or verifiable reason, we will slash their 2023 budget,” he added.