Reps query PENCOM’s unapproved spendings

The House of Representatives, on Thursday  frowned at the manner in which the finances of  the Nigeria Pension Commission (PENCOM) is being managed by the Commission’s Management.

The members of the House committee on Pensions headed by by Rep. Alhassan Rurum, were not happy with the  Acting Director-General, Hajia Aisha Dahir-Umar for the manner she has been handling the finances of the organisation.

They made their position known at the Budget Defence session where the Acting Director-General led the Management of PENCOM to defend the Commission’s 2020 Budget proposal,

They expressed dissatisfaction at the way PENCOM Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is being spent without the Constitutionally mandatory appropriation of the National Assembly.

Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Pensions, Rep. Bamidele Salam restated the Committee’s stand that the Management of PENCOM must come out to explain the spending of 2,138,440,241.57 from the PENCOM Internally Generated Revenue for ‘Admin Expenses’ without approval of the National Assembly.

The lawmaker insisted on the Committee’s demand that the PENCOM Management must explain the spending of N369,688,000.00 from the Commission’s Internally Generated Revenue on ‘Miscellaneous Expenses’, the spending of N731,477,627.90 from the IGR on ‘Capacity Building Costs’.

They also questioned the spending of N1,831,275,331.00 on ‘Operational and Monitoring Expenses’, among other huge expenses, all without approval of the National Assembly.

Salam also told Hajia Dahir-Umar, that her Management team must explain to the committee, its claim that “it is the right of the Commission (PENCOM) to start spending its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) without further recourse to the National Assembly as soon as Mr. President signs the Appropriation Act into Law, even when the IGR does not form part of the Appropriation Bill in the first place.”

Rep Mansur Soro, another member of the committee expressed shock at the claim by the Commission that it spent over Five Billion Naira (5,000,000,000) on the Salaries of about 380 Members of Staff within the first Eight (8) Months of year 2019, without approval.

Rep.Leke Abejide and Yusuf Adamu Gadji quoting Section 80 (1) of the Constitution, stated that the Management of PENCOM reserves no right under law to spend the Commission’s Revenue without the appropriation and approval of the National Assembly.

PENCOM Management must prove to the Committee with relevant documents that it was given approval to spend the huge sums it spent out of the Commission’s IGR, he said.

The Acting Director-General of PENCOM, Hajia Dahir-Umar while responding to the queries of the Committee, made clarifications of the issues raised. However the Committee insisted on sighting documented approvals and evidence of appropriation for the 2019 spending of PENCOM.

The committee requested the Cash Flow analysis for the IGR already spent and other necessary documents to clarify the costs spent in 2019. She was given until Monday, 9th December 2019 to present the documents.

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