Chairman of the Committee,Rt. Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub sandwiched between his Vice(right) and the Committee Clerk,Alh.Mohammad Ali Turkwa( to the Chairman’s left) during the budget defense exercise of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
The Committee on Foreign Affairs,House of Representatives, has refused to consider the 2023 budget proposals of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until the Ministry,among other conditions,complies fully with the 2022 Appropriations Act (as amended).
The above which was sequel to a resolution of the Committee was occasioned by grouse violations of several provisions of the Act and other extant financial regulations by officials of the Ministry.
Chairman of the Committee, Rt. Hon.( Dr.) Yusuf Buba Yakub,who conveyed the position of the Committee at the 2023 budget defence session on Wednesday in Abuja,also revealed that several letters written to the Ministry on the identified infractions,were neither acknowledged nor responded to.
He said that the Ministry must direct all Nigerian Missions to abide by Section 10 of the 2022 Appropriations Act, as amended.
Buba said that the section empowers the Missions to spend the capital component of their annual budget without approval from the Ministry.
He also wondered why counter-directives would continue to emanate from the Ministry headquarters to the Missions on issues that they are lawfully expected to abide by. He cited several examples of correspondences to the Missions to which the Ministry issued counter-directives.
Copies of telex and letters, signed by the officials of the Ministry issuing counter- directives to the Missions and Embassies on earlier directives of the House Committee, were, following the response of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama,who had said he was not aware of some of the issues raised, displayed to the audience in the session.
Part of the Committee Chairman’s speech read:
” 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”.
The above , according to the Chairman of the Committee,were several administrative charges running into billions of Naira that were expended by the Missions without seeking for any waivers from the National Assembly in line with the afore-stated provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999,as amended.
“In conclusion, 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:
a. Directs all Missions to abide by Section 10 of the 2022 Appropriations Act (as Amended);
b. Furnish the National Assembly with the 2023 budget proposals in respect to targeted revenues from administrative charges at the missions and embassies;
c. 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”.
Among those present at the session were the Vice Chairman of the Committee,Hon. Timehin Adelegbe,Hon. Khadijat Ibrahim Bukar Abba,Hon. Musa Bagos as well as Hon. Lawal Abdul Kenken;Clerk of the Committee,Alh.Mohammad Ali,among many others.
On the side of the Ministry led by the Honourable Minister were Amb.Janet Olisa,Director,PRS 1, overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary,Hafsatu Mohammed,DFA,Amb. Grema Garba, Director,PRS II,among others.
Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to the Chairman of the Committee.
*Thursday, November 3,2022*
See Pictures 1 to 3 of the Event.