According to the latest government audit report, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development failed to account for extra-budgetary contractual liability totaling over N48 billion in 2019.
According to the report, the failure was due to a flaw in the ministry’s internal control system, which allowed for misappropriation of public funds and difficulty in funding the budget. According to the report, the ministry owes money because it failed to take the necessary steps to pay eligible contractors.
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Auditors cited Financial Regulations (FR) paragraph 2906 (ii), which states that “…all procurement plans must be supported by prior budgetary appropriation as proof of fund availability.” In other words, payments that are not included in the annual budget will be rejected.”
In addition, the report states that “Expenditure shall strictly be classified in accordance with the Estimates, and votes must be applied only to the purpose for which the money is provided.” Expenditure that has been incorrectly charged to a vote is disallowed.”
The ministry also used over N7 billion released for the 2019 first quarter capital project to pay for its traditional capital project from the previous year, according to the auditor-report. general’s (2018).
The report stated, “The Ministry’s 2018 Capital Project Appropriation was duly funded and released in the year, and there were no acceptable justifications for using 2019 first quarter capital release to pay for 2018 projects.”
The action was regretted, and the matter was under investigation by relevant anti-graft agencies, according to a letter from the agriculture ministry’s management dated November 3, 2020.
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Despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s repeated promises to revive the country’s agricultural sector, the sector continues to be underfunded, and funds allocated to the ministry are frequently mismanaged and diverted.
Mr Buhari fired the then-Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, in September due to inefficiencies in the ministry.