The Senate has threatened to cut down the budgetary allocation of over 100 if they fail to appear before the Auditor General for the Federation.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, gave this warning on Wednesday while ruling on a point of order raised by the Chairman, of the Senate Public Accounts Committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide.
Urhoghide, under Orders 42 and 95 complained that the indicted MDAs have repeatedly ignored letters of invitation and summons sent out by the committee and have failed to respond to queries raised by the Auditor General.
“The agencies that have vehemently refused to appear before our committee, this list of agencies and the amount that is against their name are staggering,” Urhoghide said
“I crave your indulgence that we invite through your order either by way of warrant of arrest or anything so that these agencies can come and we can complete our report and submit it to this Senate. Coming under order 42, 95 which clearly explains the mandate of the committee of public account of the Senate.”
In his response, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said any NDA 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.
Lawan said; “When they fail to appear, you give them a new date. When they fail to appear, we won’t give them any money. We hold their budget until they come.
“Any public officer must be willing to give an account before the National Assembly. If they feel too big, they should be willing to quit,
“Reading this list at plenary gives the agencies concerned the opportunity to now know if they were not aware before, for those that may claim ignorance and I am taking the opportunity here to advise that in the next one week if the name of any agency is here that agency should reach out to the Committee on Public Accounts of the Senate to sort out when the agency would appear before the committee.
“If there is no communication whatsoever and no cogent and verifiable reasons are given we will slash the 2023 budget of such MDAs.”
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, and Ministry of Works and Housing, among others.