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Senate raises concern over Service Wide Vote spending

The Senate Public Account Committee, the only parliamentary panel recognised by the constitution to audit budgetary claims of government agencies, has started moves to probe the disbursement and utilisation of the Service Wide Vote.

The SWV is a major component of the nation’s yearly budget where a lump sum of money is kept to tackle unforeseen expenditure both for recurrent and capital.

It is disbursed by the Accountant General of the Federation based on the instructions of the Minister of Finance.

Chairman of SPAC, Senator Matthew Urhogide, told our correspondent in an interview on Sunday that his committee did not know how the funds in the SWV were being managed.

Urhogide said the committee had therefore called on the leadership of the National Assembly to direct the Finance Minister and the Accountant General of the Federation, to henceforth make public, all disbursement made from the SWV for accountability and probity.

He said, “Service Wide Vote is a major component of our yearly budget where a lump sum of money is kept in a compartment. It is meant to be used for unforseen expenditure both for recurrent and capital.

“It is being disbursed by the Accountant General of the Federation based on the instructions of the Minister of Finance.

“Agencies that get normal budgetary allocations still approach the President to solicit additional funds either to make up for shortfall in the payment of salaries or allowances or to execute special projects that are carried out which they will need special funds to complete.

“Unfortunately, the standing committees of the National Assembly are only aware of the regular budgetary allocations of the MDAs; we are not aware of what they got as special allocations from the service wide vote.

“The latest amount of N30bn being released to the Academic Staff Union of Universities was not part of the 2020 budget but the Federal Government would take it from the Service Wide Vote.

“We had yet to find out how disbursement for Service Wide Vote from recurrent and capital expenditure are being utilised.”

 Urhogide lamented that several attempts made by his committee over the years to make heads of MDAs give accounts of what they got from the SWV had been futile.

PUNCH!

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