The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee, (PAC) on Wednesday summoned the Acting Director General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mrs Adesola Taiwo over the operation of the Agency’s budgets from 2018 to 2021 without the approval of the National Assembly.
Consequently the Committee being Chaired by Hon Busayo Oluwole Oke is to commence an immediate probe into the strange discovery as it has directed the Clerk of the Committee to write a formal letter to the Clerk of the National
Assembly and the Clerk of the House of Representatives demanding for evidence of the conveyance of the Agency’s Annual Budget in the years under review from the Presidency to the National Assembly.
The Committee vowed to uncover the circumstance surrounding the operation of the unapproved budgets by the Agency contrary to section 81 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as ammended) which empowers the President to convey the annual budgets of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government to the National Assembly every fiscal year for approval.
The Committee which made the discovery on Wednesday while grilling the management of ITF, which was placed on status inquiry by the House following several infractions said to be going on in the Agency over the years
The Committee expressed displeasure over the absence of the Acting DG of the Agency, who was represented by Director of Finance and Administration, Yusuf Abdulmajid.
The Committee Chairman, Hon Oke, had asked the leader of the team the whereabouts of the acting DG, who was supposed to appear before the committee to speak on various infractions leveled against them, but the DFA replied that she was on annual leave, which prompted him to represent represent her.
The Committee described it as unacceptable and directed the Acting DG to report physically unfailingly next Tuesday along with a copy of letter which proved the leave.
Oke added that the Agency should show evidence that the budget of the Agency was actually conveyed to the National
Assembly by the President and was thereafter considered and approved.
In addition, he directed that the Agency should also present the reports of its budget performance from January 2020 to date, records of donations, grants and other interventions, detailed breakdown of amount disbursed and comprehensive list of beneficiaries.
The Acting DG was also asked to come along with the Director of Human Resources, Director of Finance, and Director Procurement.
Oke explained that the Committee was not out to witchhunt the Agency or anybody but was acting on the status of inquiry referral from the House detailing several infractions against it which should be sorted out.
He said that it was unconstitutional and unacceptable to the parliament or any agency of government to be operating outside the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as being done by ITF and that this would be held against the Agency until it was able to produce convincing evidence that the President actually conveyed its budget to the parliament for consideration and approval.
He said that the attention of the Acting DG was needed to come and speak to the facts on the allegations levied against the agency saying that unfortunately the Acting DG resorted to staying away and sent subordinates to the parliament which he described as a slap on the face of the parliament.
According to a submission by the agency to the committee, in 2018 it got N37, 592, 730, 753; in 2019 it got N43, 133, 753, 661; in 2020 it got N43, 468, 030, 400; and in 2021 it got N43, 947, 801, 437 respectively.
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