The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration (NAFDAC) has been indicted by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance for extra-budgetary spending.
At the interactive session on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework on Thursday, the committee disclosed that the agency had been spending its operating surplus without appropriation by the National Assembly.
The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) also confirmed that NAFDAC had a liability to the government totalling N13.5billion.
Victoria Adiwu, a member of FRC Monitoring and Evaluation Committee, informed the lawmakers of the liability.
In 2018, the agency’s total revenue was N14.8 billion and had an approved budget of N8.9 billion but only remitted N669 million to the treasury.
The committee chairman, James Faleke (APC, Lagos), had earlier queried the accounts of the agency.
He noted that the agency should account for the N4.9billion surplus.
“If your aggregate revenue is N14.8billion and—even in 2018, government-funded you. Your total expenditure was N8.9 billion, what it means to me is that we have an extra of about N5 bilion. You remitted N669 million, what happened to the N4.9 billion.”
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Mojisola Adeyeye, stated that the agency used N3.1 billion from its operating surplus in 2018 to pay the debt she inherited.
She also said the agency was lacking equipment to operate when she joined the agency.
“In 2018, that was the year the N3.01 billion debt that I inherited was paid. I inherited N3.2billion debt. It was in 2018 that we paid that, but that is not showing here (in the statement).
“The actual situation in NAFDAC, when I joined, 80 per cent of the equipment were not working, no vehicle, no laptops, no computers for even directors. So we rolled over the excess from our 2019 revenue to 2020.
“The Senate Committee on Health and their House counterpart approved for us, to make up for the losses of the previous year. As we speak, we are building states and zonal offices in seven states. So, whatever has not been done, we are trying to catch up. The committee on health approved for us to spend that rolled up money,” she said.
A member of the committee, Muktar Ahmed (APC, Kaduna), urged the agency to request more funding instead of the illegal approach of spending without budgetary approval.
“Why don’t you make it in such a way that you ask for an increased budget that will cover all these things you are taking money illegally to do, so that you will not run into trouble every year, spending what has not been appropriated for you.
“I will suggest that you sit down with the committee that is over sighting you, and of course, the budget office and the ministry of finance to streamline these things,” Mr Ahmed said.
Earlier, Mr Faleke, asked the DG if the agency would consider pulling out of the budget.
“Can your agency pull out of the budget, so that the government will not give you budget? Because I can see that you can fund yourself. So pull out of the budget. I am asking you, can you pull out of the budget?”
The DG responded that her agency will consider pulling out if the government could continue to take care of the personnel cost of the agency.
“If our personnel can be taken care of, we can pull out of the budget. When you are catching up on many years of losses, you cannot pull out of the budget. We are digitalising our system to block leakages. And it is a progressive effort, it is not something we can do in a year or two years. If things are the way they are now in the next five years, NAFDAC will be able to pull out. Until then, NAFDAC cannot pull out,” she said.
Mrs Adeyeye also gave an update on the revenue performance of the agency.
She stated that the agency had generated N5 billion out of the projected N23billion.
The committee directed that the agency should reconcile with the FRC.
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