The House of Representatives has rejected the N5.112 billion estimated 2023 budget for the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF).
The Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts (PAC), Wole Oke, announced this at the budget defence session at the National Assembly on Wednesday.
The committee also summoned the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed; acting Accountant General of the Federation, Sylva Okolieaboh; and the Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, giving them a seven-day ultimatum to appear and explain why the budget of such a strategic office should be so meagre.
The Auditor General of the Federation, Andrew Onwudili, while briefing the committee, disclosed that though the office proposed a total budget of N11.151 billion, what the budget office approved was N5.112 billion.
Giving a breakdown, he said the office proposed a personnel cost of N3.041 billion as against the N2.349 billion contained in the budget, a proposal of N5.59 billion for overhead costs as against the N2.113 billion, and a proposal of N2.52 billion against the N62.70 million included in the budget estimates.
Oke said: “It is very important at this point in time to state clearly observations. We want to observe that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari was elected based on his promise, and determination to tame corruption, to humble corruption in our country.
“And one of the institutions, as a matter of fact, the fundamental institution, which the crafters of our constitution put in place under Section 85 is the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
“It is very unfortunate that we have noticed the concerted effort, and determination to undermine the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
“We have seen the determination of the lieutenants of Mr President, particularly the minister of finance, the DG Budget office to undermine Mr. President in his determination to wage war against corruption on the land.”