Champion Newspapers Limited
For a better society

Budget Defense: Reps refuse to consider Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Proposal

  *Accuses Minister, Missions of breach of appropriation and procurement laws

73
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

JONAS EZIEKE, Abuja

 

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Hon. Buba Yakub has said that the Minister of Foreign Affairs has breached the provisions of the Appropriations Act 2022 and procurement laws of the Federation of Nigeria by allowing the foreign Missions and Embassies of Nigeria to conduct their procurement.

 

He further stated that the House Committee will not consider the 2023 Budget proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until the Minister directs the affected missions and embassies the position of the House Committee on the issue.

The lawmaker at a budget session had said: “As a creation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the National Assembly, among other duties, is empowered to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of our country (Section 4(2-3) CFRN 1999(as Amended).

 

“This function, by extension, also encompasses appropriating funds for MDAs and carrying out oversight functions on such MDAs. (Standing Orders of the House of Representatives Order 12 Rule 19(5)(c) 9th Edition.)

 

“According to Section 80 (1-4) CFRN 1999(As Amended), the National Assembly possesses the powers to authorise the expenditure of all revenue receipts, including those that have gone into the Consolidated Revenue Fund and to oversight how these funds are spent.

 

“With the above in mind, it follows that all funds appropriated to MDAs like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others must be accounted for before the Ministry can come to request for another such appropriation, hence this budget defense session.

 

“One is, therefore, surprised and, indeed, it beats every logic that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has deliberately refused to abide by the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and by other statutes of the land, including the Standing Orders of the House. The question this Committee is asking the Minister of Foreign Affairs is: Is he bigger than Nigeria and its laws? Or how else will one explain the constant flagrant abuse of the laws of the land even when we have continued to write letters to the Ministry reminding it of relevant provisions of our laws that demand abiding by?

 

“According to Section 10 of the Appropriations Act 2022 (as Amended), Missions and Embassies have been empowered to constitute their Tender Board for the procurements they need to make. We have called the attention of the Minister to this Act, but he has continued to direct the Missions not to obey this law despite receiving about four letters on the issue, including the latest one on 6 September 2022.

 

“In addition to the above, Section 7 of the Appropriations Act 2022 (As Amended), captures, inter alia, that “The Minister of Finance shall ensure that funds appropriated under this Act are released to the appropriate agencies and or organs of government as and when due, provided that no funds for any quarter of the fiscal year shall be deferred without a prior waiver from the National Assembly”. In total disregard for the above, the Ministry has continued to direct Missions to retain and spend monies in their Capital accounts without any waivers from the National Assembly. A 23rd September 2022 letter by this Committee that was sent to the Ministry, as a reminder to earlier ones, still did not stop the Ministry from flouting the laws of the land.

 

“Being aware that administrative charges have been approved at the Missions by Mr. President, this Committee, in line with Section 80 (3 and 4) CFRN (As Amended) has also observed that in total disregard to what the law says, the Minister has continued to authorise the spending of monies generated through administrative charges at the Missions without being appropriated by the National Assembly”.

 

He had told the Minister and other officials of the Foreign Ministry that it is important to note that this Committee has continued to draw the attention of the Ministry to the above-noted infractions, but all to no avail. Consequent upon the degree of the above-noted laxity, the Committee has resolved as follows:

 

That it will not consider the present 2023 appropriation proposal  of the Ministry until it does the following:

 

Directs all Missions to abide by Section 10 of the 2022 Appropriations Act (as Amended);

Furnish the National Assembly with the 2023 budget proposals with respect to targeted revenues from administrative charges at the missions and embassies;

Furnish the Committee with the list of unspent funds under the capital component of the Missions’ allocations for the necessary waivers of the National Assembly.

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Goeffrey Onyeama in his response  said that he did not in anyway tell them to disregard these requirement regarding the administrative charges we are also in the process of explaining to them what they have to do to send it for appropriation before spending not just spending anyhow also on unspent funds under capital seeking weavers for them to be able to apply it under other heads again we have brought this to their attention and again we are in the process of developing  template for all the mission to follow,  I would like to beg Mr. Chairman that contrary to your assertion that the ministry is in no way trying to flaunt the laws of the land and trying to appropriate to itself Powers that it dose not have. We have here and we can submit to this committee evidence of directives we have given to the missions.

 

For a better society

—————————————————————–

Kindly follow us across all our Social Media platforms to stay up-to-date with the latest news and happenings in Nigeria and Across the Globe.

Facebook – https://facebook.com/championnewsonline
Instagram – https://instagram.com/championnewsonline

Comments are closed.