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Auditor-General Indicts 256 MDAs For N284 Billion Extra-Budgetary Expenditure In 2020

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Profile Of The New Auditor-General Of The Federation, Shaakaa Chira

In a significant development that underscores the challenges of fiscal discipline within Nigeria’s public sector, the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) has indicted approximately 256 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government for engaging in unauthorized spending practices.

According to the latest 2020 Audited Report on government finances, these entities have been found to violate extant laws by incurring extra-budgetary expenditures totaling N284 billion in the year 2020.

Among the implicated bodies are notable institutions such as the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation and the Airforce Institute of Technology, highlighting the widespread nature of the issue across various government sectors.

The audit, which was submitted to the National Assembly, shed light on significant financial mismanagement involving unbudgeted expenditure and failure to remit revenues to government coffers for the fiscal year in question.

The submission of the 2020 Audited Report came notably late, arriving two years beyond the constitutional deadline.

According to legal requirements, the report should have been presented to the National Assembly in 2021.

However, it was only submitted on November 30, 2023, under the reference AuGF/AR.2020/01, marking a significant delay in the accountability process.

Section 80 (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended states that “No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation except to meet expenditure that is charged upon the fund by this Costitution or where the issue of those moneys has been authorised by an Appropriation Act, Supplementary Appropriation Act or an Act passed in pursuance of section 81 of this Constitution”.

Also, Section 80(3) states that “No moneys shall be withdrawn from any public fund of the Federation, other than the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, unless the issue of those moneys has been authorised by an Act of the National Assembly”.

The report stated that the total of N361bn was spent by the affected MDAs against the N76bn in the 2020 Appropriation Act.

The OAuGF added that the MDAs did not disclose the sources of the extra spending and did not provide the evidence of supplementary appropriation or approved virement provided.

The report accused the accounting officers of the affected MDAs of failing to ensure that proper budgetary and accounting systems are established and maintained to enhance internal control, accountability and transparency.

According to the document, 18 MDAs incurred an overhead expenditure of N129bn which were not supported by budgetary provision as required by the constitution but the accountant-general, in a management response contained in the report said the MDAs involved are “mostly those that had waivers to spend a percentage of their revenue to sustain themselves”.

The report said that 34 MDAs reported zero overhead expenditure despite having a total budget of N6.9bn noting that “no additional information was disclosed to enable users understand how the MDAs operated without overhead costs”.

The AuGF report revealed that N7bn was budgeted for Employees Benefit but a total of N335bn was spent.

It also said that the sum of N14bn was spent on subsidies without budgetary provisions.

The report said that 72 MDAs exceeded their Employee benefits budget by N328bn saying “the total expenditures of the 72 MDAs were N335bn while the total budget was N87bn.”

The auditor-general also reported that 106 MDAs exceeded their personnel costs budget by N78bn noting that “the total expenditures of the 106 MDA was N882bn while the total budget was N804bn

“No information was disclosed thereon in respect to the authorisation of the expenditure by way of either supplementary appropriation or virement upon which the personnel budget was exceeded,” the report stated.