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Budget Office disturbed by inability of 428 agencies to pay November salary

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Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze

Director-General of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, has expressed concern that some 428 agencies would not be able to pay November salary.

Appearing before the Senate Committee on Public Account to interface on the new minimum wage, Akabueze indicated that the Federal Government would revert to service-wide vote to cater for the shortfall in emoluments for the month in question.

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According to him, “we will take from the service-wide vote to take care of the shortfall in workers’ salary.”

Earlier, the committee chairman, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, accused the executive of “deliberately under-funding the Office of Auditor General of the Federation.”

He wondered “how could an agency that is meant to fight institutional corruption be under-funded by the executive, while other agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) are properly funded.”

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The senator went on: “The continued underfunding of the Office of Auditor General of the Federation, which is constitutionally charged with the responsibility of ensuring transparency, accountability, and probity in governance, is a conspiracy.

“Therefore the proposed budget of N4.6 billion may not be adequate for the audit of the sum of N13 trillion in the year 2021 being the total budget proposal of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“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.

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“There is a need to digitalise the system of the specialised audit, which was also proposed for in the year 2021 budget proposal for the office.”

Responding, Akabueze explained that his establishment only appropriates funds to the Office of Auditor General of Federation based on the extant laws.

He said since his assumption of office, there has been an improvement in the budget of the Office of Auditor General of the Federation.

The DG said when it “comes to the capital budget, the Budget Office is guided by the approved budget for those agencies.”

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