The Office of the Auditor General of the Federation has disclosed that nine Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government spent about N49.5bn above their approved budgets between 2018 and 2019.
The OAuGF made the discrepancy known in its “2019 Annual Report on Non-Compliance, Internal Control, and Weakness Issues in MDAs of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the year ended December 31, 2019”, which was submitted to the National Assembly.
According to the report, the agencies allegedly violated Section 80(4) of the Constitution which states that “No money shall be withdrawn from the CRF or any other public fund of the Federation except in a manner prescribed by the National Assembly.”
Also, it also quoted Paragraph 417 of the Financial Regulations, which read in part, “Expenditure shall strictly be classified in accordance with the estimates, and votes must be applied only to the purpose for which the money is provided. Expenditure incorrectly charged to a vote shall be disallowed.”
The agencies involved are the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Nigerian Police Force; Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba, Lagos; Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, Abuja; FCT-Internal Revenue Service; Nigeria Defence Academy; Rural Electrification Agency, Abuja; Investment and Securities Tribunal; and the Nigerian Correctional Service.
The report read in part, “Audit observed that the sum of N49,538,655,165.50 (Forty nine billion, five hundred and thirty eight million, six hundred and fifty five thousand, one hundred and sixty five naira, fifty kobo) was the amount of extra-budgetary expenditure/virement without approval by nine Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
It added that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development spent the highest amount with N48.4bn while the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, Abuja, spent the least amount of N1.68m.
A closer look at the report showed that the Ministry of Agriculture was also in violation of Paragraph 2906 (ii) of the Financial Regulations which stipulates that“…all procurement plans must be supported by prior budgetary appropriation as proof of availability of funds. In other words, payments that are not provided for in the annual estimates shall not be accepted.”