From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate, through its Standing Committee on Public Accounts, has said it will probe the utilisation of over N1.7 trillion Service Wide Votes allocation in the 2017-2021 budgets disbursed to government agencies.
Chairman of the Committee, Matthew Urhogbide, who made this known during the meeting of the panel, said beneficiary government agencies need to give an explanation on how they utilised the fund.
He added that Service Wide Vote is a disbursement into the shortfall in capital and overheads.
A Service Wide Vote which is also known as the Consolidated Revenue Fund Charge is more or less the country’s contingency fund in the annual budget.
It is a huge sum of money which is kept for unforeseen expenditures. The recurrent expenditure part of the fund is what is actually referred to as the SWV, while the capital part of it is called Capital Supplementation.
It is domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Finance.
The chairman also ordered the Acting Accountant General of the Federation, Okolieaboh Sylva, who appeared before the Committee to submit details of the disbursement of Service Wide Votes as quickly as possible.
According to him, “We want you to submit details of disbursement of Service Wide Votes, let us have it as quickly as possible, please we want speed.
“The other one that concerns you is the disbursement of Service Wide Votes from 2017-2021, you have not submitted the 2021 disbursement, let us have that of 2022 as quickly as possible, the reason is because we have 797 agencies to deal with all the letters, we have decided to put them on hold until we get your report of 2021 so that we don’t start writing fresh letters on 2021 again as soon as possible.
“We need to input it into our report, let be able to know that you have exercised a level of cooperation with us, give us hard copies for our members to study.
“We have to take you first before any other agency, you will have to appear the first week of our resumption.”
Speaking further with newsmen, he said the agencies need to explain how the Service Wide Votes collected have been spent adding that the Committee will need to know who authorised the disbursement of funds from Service Wide Votes, who applied for it, the authority to incure the expenditure and the supporting documents.
He said for the first time, the Senate is making inquisition into Service Wide Votes.
Urhoghide had complained about the Votes, noting that they (his committee) had yet to find out how disbursement for SWV both recurrent and capital expenditure are being utilised.
According to the lawmaker, his committee has made several attempts in the past years to ensure that heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) give an account of what they got from the SWV but all efforts have been futile.