The House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has refused to approve the 2023 budget of the nation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Chairman of the Committee, Mr Yusuf Yakub, announced the decision during the budget defence session of the ministry at the National Assembly.
Mr Yakub expressed his anger that the ministry did not honour a letter informing the Minister that Missions and Embassies had been empowered to constitute their Tender Board for the purpose of the procurements they need to make.
“It follows that all funds appropriated to MDAs like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others, must be accounted for before the Ministry is able to come to request for another such appropriation, hence this budget defence session. One is, therefore, surprised and, indeed, it beats every logic that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has deliberately refused to abide by the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and by other statutes of the land, including the Standing Orders of the House. The question this Committee is asking the Minister of Foreign Affairs is: Is he bigger than Nigeria and its laws? Or how else will one explain the constant flagrant abuse of the laws of the land even when we have continued to write letters to the Ministry reminding it of relevant provisions of our laws that demand abiding by.
He said section 10 of the Appropriations Act 2022 (as Amended), empowers Missions and Embassies to constitute their Tender Board for the purpose of the procurements they need to make.
The committee chairman expressed concern that though they have called the attention of the Minister to this Act, he has continued to direct the Missions not to obey the law in spite of receiving about four letters on the issue.
The Chairman announced that the Committee would not consider the present 2023 appropriation proposal of the Ministry until it direct all missions to abide by the provisions of the appropriations Act as well as furnish the National Assembly with the 2023 budget proposals in respect to targeted revenues from administrative charges at the missions and embassies.
Yakub added that the ministry must also furnished the Committee with the list of unspent funds under the capital component of the Missions’ allocations for the necessary waivers of the National Assembly.
In his response, the Minister refuted the allegations, saying that he did not flaunt the laws of the land or directed such to be done.
“I did not in anyway tell them to disregard these requirements regarding the administrative charges. We are also in the process of explaining to them what they have to do to send it for appropriation before spending not just spending anyhow also on unspent funds under capital seeking weavers for them to be able to apply it under other heads again.