Senate Committee Chairman on Public Accounts, Senator Mathew Urhoghide has lamented the lopsidedness in budgetary allocation to Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, MDAs, by the Budget Office.
He raised the concerns on Tuesday at the 2021 budget hearing of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, where the Committee discovered low allocation, while other agencies have oversized budgets to spend in 2021.
The Committee specifically identified the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) as agencies commanding huge budgets to the detriment of agencies like the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation which is meant to audit over 600 agencies of government.
The Chairman explained that the Parliament approved the sum of N104,543,900,280 for EFCC including its 2021 appropriation before the National Assembly.
He said the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation spent the sum of N15,192,654,063, saying that “Buhari government deliberately weakened the agency to reduce its capacity to audit MDAs’ accounts.
Urhoghide’s complaints were further deepened by the budgetary allocation of the sister anti-graft Independent Corrupt Practices Commission with a budgetary allocation of N30.111 billion in four years including its 2021 appropriation before the National Assembly.
The lawmaker said: “That it is an irony that while the Office which is constitutionally established to ensure transparency in the management of public funds of the Federation is having a reduced allocation, while similar agencies established to achieve a fraction of this objective are being well funded through incremental budgetary allocations”, he said.
Reacting to the interrogation by the panel, Director General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze explained that the office was constrained by the template handed over to them by President Muhammadu Buhari administration.