BudgiT slams N’Assembly for ‘smuggling’ 6,576 projects into 2022 budget
Queries N5.6b For Meetings, N28m For PR
BudgiT has called on the National Assembly to eliminate infractions and corruption loopholes in the 2022 Approved Budget, frowning on the alleged insertion of 6,576 capital projects into the 2022 Budget without following due process.
The civic-tech organisation leading the advocacy for fiscal transparency and accountability in Nigeria also decried the N5.6 billion allocated for meetings and N28 million for quarterly interaction with foreign media/public relations lobby.
It called for urgent amendment on the affected sections.
In statement in Abuja, yesterday, BudgiT’s acting Head, Media and Communications, Iyanu Fatoba, lamented that the insertion of 6,576 projects, which bloated the budgets of different federal ministries, led to a breach of the budget ceiling safeguards announced by the Budget Office of the Federation on August 19, 2021.
According to Fatoba, BudgiT is also concerned about the timeframe within which the 6,576 capital projects were generated and inserted into the FG budget by legislators.
She said BudgIT has valid concerns on whether the Project Design Documents (PDDs) were created as required by the 2022 Budget Public Investment Guidelines, maintaining that a poorly designed and costed public sector project is almost destined to fail, ab initio, and lead to poor value for taxpayers’ money.
“Also worrisome is the Federal Government’s selective opacity in its budget transparency as it concerns certain agencies that have been indicted for fraud.
For emphasis, while the budgets of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCD), Galaxy Backbone, among others were entirely missing from the 2022 approved budget, that of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) – although included in the 2022 approved budget, has no breakdown of capital expenditure.
“The National Assembly must demonstrate a stronger commitment to publishing, vetting and appraising the budget proposal from the executive and their agencies, especially using feedback from the country’s auditor-general to assess allocations to agencies involved in misappropriations, extra-budgetary allocations, and other forms of corruption in the previous years.”
On capital budget padding, BudgIT’s Country Director, Gabriel Okeowo, said: “Several projects do not meet the definition for capital expenditure, according to the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
“For example, N5.6 billion allocated for over 150 meetings was listed as capital expenditure across different Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Another case is the N28 million allocated to the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture headquarters for Quarterly Interaction With Foreign Media/Public Relations Lobby in its capital budget.”