By Abdulateef Bamgbose
Members of the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs have faulted the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha for failing to appear before the Senate to defend the budget of his office for 2023 fiscal year.
The lawmakers complained that the SGF has consistently shunned invitations from the Senate since the inauguration of the 9th senate in 2019, and again failed to appear for the last budget of president Buhari administration.
Some members of the committee called for the representative of the SGF, Mr. Morris Mbaeri, the permanent secretary general services , be sent back, and return with Boss Mustapha on a later date.
However, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Abba Moro ruled that the Permanent Secretary be allowed to present the budget on behalf of the SGF.
The Committee also pointed that an additional 200 million for personal cost was added to the budget of his office when the office has not embarked on recruitment in the last five year.
In response the Permanent Secretary explained that the new provisions were for new presidential aides appointed for president Muhammadu Buhari, officers promoted in the SGF office and grants for retiring staff.
The lawmakers also accused the SGF of not adhering to the principle of federal character in the nominal roll of the staff of his office.
The committee therefore mandated the SGF to make available copies of nominal roll for the office of the SGF for proper scrutiny within two weeks.
In the 2022 budget presented by the Permanent Secretary, the lawmakers raised concerns that despite total sum of 150 million released to the office for projects, only 20 percent has been utilized.
The representative of the SGF assured that procurement process is ongoing with the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and execution will commence before the end of the year
Other issues raised include the rehabilitation of the Shehu Shagari complex worth N400 million, total monies released , but the office has utilized only seven million for the project barely two months to the end of the year.
The same with the digitization of files and other records worth N64 million total money released but not utilized so far
After several hours the committee ordered the office of the SGF to make corrections of issues raised and submit clean copies of documents to the committee for further consideration.