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Henceforth, spending without NASS approval is criminal—Minister warns MDAs

If the latest position of the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun is anything to go by, several spending sprees of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) without recourse to budgetary allocations have stopped forthwith.

In an exclusive interview, she told our correspondent that as the administration is moving towards financial discipline, time has gone for spending outside budgets as approved by the National Assembly by all MDAs.

According to her, “The ideal thing is that they get their budget approved because it is public money. So, it is only the agencies that do not obey the rules that their operations could be grounded to a halt. The laws are there and we have to enforce them. We are talking about N1. 5 trillion we have realised from this move. We can’t continue to allow the spending of this kind of money outside government’s control”.

“We are working very closely with the EFCC, it is a joint national effort, and we must make every naira count. We are also carrying the National Assembly along. We have the NASS support,” she said.

According to her, if any agency has not got its budget approved by the National Assembly, it does not have the right to go on spending.

Explaining more on affected agencies who has not returned their funds to TSA or those who has spent out of budget, Adeosun said “We have asked them to come with their payment proposals, we want to know how their money have been spent. But all the money they spent without due diligence to lay down financial guidelines have to be paid back to government. We have given them time to pay.”

It would be recalled that some of the 33 government agencies/corporations audited by the committee are: Nigeria Communications Commission, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and safety Agency, Corporate Affairs Commission, Industrial Training Fund, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and Nigeria Airspace Management Agency.

The Minister added that to date, there was N450 billion in outstanding and recoverable operating surpluses identified in 17 agencies. The agencies are the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Shippers Council, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, National Health Insurance Scheme, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Nigeria Communication Commission and the Nigeria Postal Service.