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DG Budget Office worries over 428 agencies that will cease salary payment by Nov

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DG Budget Office worries  over 428 agencies that will cease salary payment by Nov

The Director General of Budget Office,  Ben Akabueze has expressed concern that about 428 government agencies will not be able to pay salaries by end of November.

The Director General who appeared before the Senate Committee on Public Account in an interface hinged the development on new minimum wage.

He however indicated that Federal government will have to revert to the service wide vote in order to cater for the shortfall in Civil servants’ salary for the month of November.

According to him, we will take from Service wide vote to take care of the short fall in workers salary.

Speaking earlier,  the Chairman of the committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide accused the Executive arm of deliberately under funding the Office of Auditor General of the Federation.

The Chairman wondered how could an agency that is meant to fight institutional corruption be under funded by the Executive while the other agencies like Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC)  are properly funded.

The continued under-funding of the Office of Auditor General of the Federation, which is constitutionally charged with the responsibility of ensuring transparency, accountability and probity in governance is a conspiracy.o

“Therefore the proposed budget of N4.6 billion may not be adequate for the audit of the sum of N13 trillion in the year 2021 being total budget proposal of the Federal government of Nigeria.

“The office of the Auditor General for the federation is in need of replacing 247 retired staff which has not been provided for in the budget proposal.

“The promotion and annual increment of staff are also not factored into the year 2021 budget.

“There is need to digitalzed and automate the system of the specialized Audit which was also was proposed for in the year 2021 budget proposal for the office.

“It is an irony that while the office which is constitutionally established to ensure accountability and transparency in the management of public funds of the federation is having a reduced allocation similar agencies established to achieve a fraction of this objective are well funded through incremental budgetary allocations. “

Responding to issue of under funding of the Office of Auditor General of Federation, Akabueze explained to the lawmakers that the budget office will only appropriate fund to the Office of Auditor General of Federation based on the extant laws

He said since his emergence as the Director General of Budget office there has been an improvement in the budget of Office of Auditor General of the Federation.

He said when it comes to capital budget the budget office is guided by the approved budget for those agencies.

He said the government could give any approval for the requirement in 2020 due to Covid-19 adding that it is illogical for government to recruitng during Covid-19.

He said the sectors that did not shut down recruitment during the Covid-19 were health and security sector.

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Again Presidecy tackles Bishop Kukah over damning sermon

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Again Presidecy tackles Bishop Kukah over damning sermon

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, of Sokoto Catholic diocese, has come under attack again from the Presidency for describing Nigeria as a killing field under the Buhari administration.
Kukah in his Easter homily on Sunday, said both the government and the citizens have become helpless as criminals continue to cause havoc in parts of the country.
The battle over insecurity in Nigeria has continued unabated especially in the northern parts of the country where bandits and insurgents have turned to a killing field.
Kukah said the security situation has frustrated many citizens making them to believe the government has gone AWOL (absent without official leave).

“Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart” the bishop said.
“Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession, as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel. Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits.
“The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly. A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last.”

However in a statement issued in Abuja Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman said Kukah’s “bashing” of President Muhammadu Buhari is “ungodly.”
“All citizens have their individual ideologies, even their own versions of truth. But if you profess to being a man of God, as Father Mathew Hassan Kukah does, ideology should not stand in the way of facts and fairness,” he said.
“Father Kukah has said some things that are inexplicable in his Easter message. But, in saying that the Boko Haram terrorism is worse than it was in 2015, he did not speak like a man of God. 

“Kukah should go to Borno or Adamawa to ask the citizens there the difference between 2014 and 2021.”
Shehu also faulted the bishop for saying Buhari is not concerned about those displaced because of the security crisis, citing the creation of the ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development as part of the president’s efforts in that regard.
“Some of the comments are no more than a sample of the unrestrained rhetoric Fr. Kukah trades in, which he often does in the guise of a homily,” the presidential spokesman said.
“We urge well-meaning citizens to continue to support the ongoing efforts by the administration to secure the country and move it forward.”

With additional reports from Cable

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Kwara Gov should be held responsible for looming religious crises over Hijab conundrum says CAN

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Kwara Gov should be held responsible for looming religious crises over Hijab conundrum says CAN


The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has berated Kwara Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, for allowing the hijab wearing in schools controversy to degenerate further.
The association therefore urged the Federal Government and the Inspector General of Police to intervene in the violence over the hijab policy.

The General Secretary, Joseph Bade Daramola, in a statement on Wednesday indicated that AbdulRazaq’s pronouncement on hijab in clear contempt of the court directive on the matter for statusquo to be maintained until the matter is finally resolved by the court is leading to more crises.

According to CAN scribe the state government ordered the reopening of the closed schools without resolving the crisis.

Daramola said churches and mission schools are being vandalised with impunity by those “banking on the state government’s support in the pretext of enforcing the policy”.

The Christian leadership observed that the Governor who is playing ostrich while innocent Christians are being violently abused and attacked in the State he is the chief security officer.
In order not to precipitate further crises CAN said wisdom is required by those in leadership to handle sensitive issues such as that of religion.
“It is disheartening and unfortunate that a government that was installed democratically will become insensitive to the plight and the yearning of the people as if the governor was voted into the office primarily to protect his religion. This is unfair, ungodly and reprehensible.

“There are public schools and schools that belong to some Islamic organisations where those who wanted to be wearing hijab can be attending without causing the ongoing needless crises rocking the state.”

The statement advised AbdulRazaq to order “his hoodlums to stop attacking mission schools and churches before the situation degenerates into an unprecedented religious crisis.”

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Senate panel unravels N443bn subsidy scam by NNPC

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Senate panel unravels N443bn subsidy scam by NNPC

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts on Wednesday uncovered a scam involving N443B by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which allegedly lavished the money on oil subsidy in 2016 without budgetary provision.

The panel, therefore, summoned the leadership of the nations oil firm to brief it on the expenditure.

The committee’s chairman, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, issued the summon yesterday when the panel considered a 2016 report by the Auditor-General for the Federation.

“During the examination of subsidy records provided by Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), it was observed that total subsidy paid during the year 2016 was N443,940,559,974.80,” the audit report.

The breakdown of the fund showed that N403.3 billion was paid to oil marketers, while interest & foreign exchange differential gulped N40.6 billion, totalling N443.9 billion.

The fund, according to the report, was spent in 2016 without budgetary provision and was deducted at source.

“This reflects continuing weaknesses in the budgeting process adopted by the Federal Government,” it added.

Responding to the audit report, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, told the committee that the NNPC would be in better position to explain the extra-budgetary spending.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide summoned the NNPC Group Managing Director, Melee Kyari to give explanation on the expenditure.

In a related development, the committee also summoned the Central Bank of Nigeria over alleged disappearance of $9.5 million interest from Investment Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude.

The invitation of the Apex Bank in the country was sequel to the 2016 Auditor General Report which accused the Central Bank of Nigeria failing to present documents supporting the investment for verification.

The Senate observed no letter supporting the investment of the fund and the actual amount invested were not made known.

The Query reads, “During the examination of transfers to Forefinger Excess PPT/Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude Accounts it was observed that during the year 2016, amount totalling $6 million and $3.5 million were credited to the Foreign PPT/Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude Account as interest on Funds investments.

“The authority for placing the funds which yielded the above interests totaling $9.5 in deposit account, the principal sums deposited, the tenor and rate of interest were no made available for audit verification.

“This observation had also been a subject of my reprts since 2017 without any positive response from Central Bank of Nigeria

“Records made available for audit further revealed that the balance in the foreign PPT/Royaltt and Foreign Excess Crude a accounts as at 28th December 2016 were USD0.00 and USD, 251,826 respectively

“This suggest the foreign PPT/Royalthy was depleted before the year end.

“The Accountant General has been requested to provide the authority for the funds invested, tenor of the investment, rate unrest payable, certficate for the funds invested and forward same for audit verification.”

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide however asked the Accountant General of the Federation, to respond to issue raised in the Auditor General Report.

The Accountant General was unable to present any document on the issue raised by the Committee.

He further told the lawmakers that the Office of Accountant General has sent a letter to the Central Bank of Nigeria for clarification on the issue raised.

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