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Senate summons Akabueze, decries under-funding of AuGF Office



Senate summons Akabueze, decries under-funding of AuGF Office

Ben Akabueze

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South), has accused the executive arm of government of deliberate under-funding of the Office of Auditor General of the Federation, AuGF.

The sum of N4.6 billion is being proposed for auditing works of the Office out of total N13 trillion budget for 2021 fiscal year by the federal government.

Speaking when the Director General of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, appeared before the committee, Urhoghide
wondered how an agency saddled with the responsibility of fighting institutional corruption is being under-funded by the Executive while the other agencies like Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC are being properly funded.

Urhoghide maintained that the continued under-funding of the Office of Auditor General of the Federation, which is constitutionally charged with responsibility of ensuring transparency, accountability and probity in governance, is unacceptable.

He therefore said that the proposed N4.6 billion for audit out of the total sum of N13 trillion in the year 2021 budget by the federal government might not be adequate for the effective and efficient auditing works.

“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 digitalised 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 while similar agencies established to achieve a fraction of this objective are well funded through incremental budgetary allocations, the chairman stressed.

Responding to issue of under-funding of the Office of AuGF, Akabueze explained that the Budget Office would only appropriate fund to the agency based on the extant laws

He admitted that since his emergence as the Director General of Budget Office, there has been an improvement in the budget of Office of AuGF, stressing that “when it comes to capital budget, the Budget Office is guided by the approved budget for those agencies.”

The director general said the government could give any approval for the requirement in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic, adding that it is illogical for the government to recruit at the heat of the pandemic.

He noted that sectors that did not shut down recruitment during the COVID-19 were health and security.

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