Friday 8 December 2023

FG Budgets N4trn For Expenditures No One Accounts For


For 2024, the presidency has proposed a budget of N4.4 trillion for the Service Wide Vote (SWV). This is almost a trillion naira higher than the N3.02 trillion 2023 budget and N2 trillion higher than the N2.46 trillion budgeted for and expended under the SWV in 2022.

The SWV, which is also known as the Consolidated Revenue Fund Charge, is Nigeria’s annual contingency budget. It is divided into personnel, overhead and capital expenses and overseen by the president.

Furthermore, the SWV can only be accessed by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) after they exhaust their budgets.

2024 Appropriation Bill: Allocation for Service Wide Vote

In 2021, Mathew Uroghide, a former chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts and senator from Edo South, expressed concerns over the lack of transparency around MDAs’ use of funds under the SWV.

He reported that the annual budget for the SWV had never been audited. It is the “biggest fraud” in Nigeria.

“It is meant to meet unseen situations; nobody gives account on Service Wide Vote. Standing committees of the Senate do not know anything about its spending,” he said.

Despite this position, the Senate has continued to approve the budget without enforcing its resolution for a proper audit, and the SWV annual budget has consistently risen by N1 trillion since 2021.

On January 31, 2023, the Public Accounts Committee gave the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy a 48-hour ultimatum to account for N13.9 billion withdrawn from the SWV for special capital projects after Williams Alo, a former permanent secretary of the ministry, failed to provide documentary evidence for its expenditures.

Alo accounted for only N7 billion of the received funds and requested more time to bring the complete records. This was after evading summons from the Senate committee for four months.

Over the years, Senate committees have probed MDAs over their appropriation of the SWV, but misuse is still largely unchecked.

On December 2, the Senate resolved to suspend plenary for two weeks to allow for budget defence by MDAs before appropriate House committees.

Allocations made under the SWV in the 2024 Appropriation Bill include N2.3 billion for former presidents/heads of states and vice presidents/chief of general staff entitlements, N10.5 billion for retired heads of service and permanent secretaries’ benefits, and N1 billion for retired heads of government agencies/parastatals’ severance benefits.

Service Wide Vote

N108 billion was budgeted for special projects, N1 billion for the Presidential Policy Coordination Office and N1.5 billion for the Presidential Project Coordinator Office.

Other proposed expenditures are N1 billion for the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and N500,000 for presidential committee on health sector reform.

No comments:

Post a Comment