Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases expresses displeasure over the discrepancies in the budgeting system of the National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), queries poor accountability on grants and aid received by government agencies
The Senate, through its Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases, is investigating the 2021 and 2022 budgeting system used by the National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA) in preparing its annual budget.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ishaku Abbo (APC, Adamawa North), made this known on Tuesday when the Director-General of NACA, Gambo Aliyu, appeared before the committee for the 2023 budget defence. Expressing his displeasure over the discrepancies in the budgeting system of the agency, he said that putting recurrent items under capital budget was a misnomer.
“The fact that things have gone wrong for 100 years doesn’t make it to be right. We must change how things are done. How can a board meeting be captured as a capital project? This is not just a discrepancy. It is a misnomer. We have to correct this misnomer.
The committee will look at it and expunge it. Your capital doesn’t sound capital enough. We understand the importance of your agency, “Abbo said.
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Senator Abbo however, set up a three-member Adhoc committee to look into the budgeting process of NACA, to be chaired by Senator Ibrahim Danbaba (PDP, Sokoto).
“I’m setting up a three-man ad hoc committee to look at the budgeting processes of NACA and liaise with the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Director-General Budget Office. This is so that they will come up with a workable and more acceptable way of doing budget for NACA.”
He equally queried the level at which grants and aid received by government agencies were not properly accounted for.
“Grants and aids are currently been received by different government agencies on behalf of Nigerians. This is running into billions of naira. Nobody knows what they are doing with it. These agencies are a creation of the law. We must know what they are doing with the loans and grants. They must account for them,” he added. The lawmaker, therefore, stepped down consideration of the 2023 budget of NACA.
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Briefing journalists after a closed-door session with Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the lawmaker said that the Senate would ensure adequate budgetary provision for the centre to get a befitting headquarters.
“We had discussed, during the closed-door session, the need for NCDC to get a convenient place for their office. Nigeria must begin to develop health institutions and systems so that we can be prepared for any emergency or pandemic,” he stated.