Audit Query: House Probes NIPC over N1bn Extra Budgetary Expenditure

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts (PAC) has commenced investigation into how the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), a federal government agency under the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment engaged in extra budgetary expenditure of N1.19 billion in the 2018 and 2019.

According to a report from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation, the NIPC had a budget of N194 million in 2018, and N180.6 million in 2019, but spent N700 million and N871 million respectively.

A study of the 223-page document presented to the Committee by the Commission showed a line item suggesting that the Commission may have spent its internally generated revenue for 2019 to service its recurrent and capital budget.

The lawmakers had earlier rejected the commission’s submission to the query, saying the supporting documents were neither signed nor authenticated by any authority which made the submission invalid in the eyes of the law.

The Director of Finance of the Commission, Mr. Akwada James had while defending the submission said he was at loss while preparing it and that he did know how to explain the item by item in the queries as demanded by the Committee.
Reacting, the lawmakers one after the other pointed out several flaws in the submission which they said looked like a forged document that would not stand the text of time before the law.

To this end, the Committee Chairman, Hon. Wole Oke stepped down all the queries and directed its new Executive Secretary, Mrs. Saratu Umàr to go back with the submission to enable her to familiarise herself with it and come back to defend it by next week Wednesday.
Oke also ordered the management of the agency to provide full explanations on why the agency would spend government money at their disposal without the approval of the National Assembly in firm of appropriation.

In addition, the Committee directed the Commission to provide the National Assembly’s approval for extra budgetary spending of N690 million.
Oke said,” Madam New Executive Secretary, in line with the principle of fair hearing we operate here, the Committee we allow you to pick a date, so that you can go and familiarise yourself with the submission and the relevant documents and come back to defend the query since you just assumed office and those on ground before you are not helping the matter.”

 

(THISDAY)

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