Four ministries get 70% of 2017 recurrent vote
N1.46tr goes to interior, education, defence, health
Four federal ministries are to take N1.46 trillion of the N2.98 trillion allocation for recurrent expenditure in the 2017 budget.
The amount which represents about 70% of the combined provision for personnel and overhead costs is that bogus because of the size of the personnel and running costs incurred by the four ministries (Interior, Education, Defence and Health) and Departments and Agencies (MDAs) affiliated to them.
The high recurrent expenditure in these ministries means that less money will be devoted to infrastructure development across the MDAs. For instance, the nation’s prisons are begging for overhaul as the current state of dilapidation makes it easy for jailbreaks recorded across the country. Also, education facilities are not only outdated but grossly inadequate. With attention focused more on overheads, the quality of education and health care services may remain poor.
A breakdown of figures in the 2017 budget estimates shows that the Ministry of Interior has the largest recurrent and overhead costs valued at N482.37 billion.
It is followed by the Ministry of Education with N398.01 billion as recurrent expenditure, Ministry of Defence with N325.87 billion, while the fourth largest is the Ministry of Health which has a total of N252.86 billion recurrent cost.
According to the Budget and National Planning Minister, Udo Udoma, some agencies and parastatals under these MDAs are yet to be captured on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) platform. He said N2 billion had been provided in the 2017 budget to ensure that all personnel that are not enrolled on the platform are captured.
A further breakdown of the recurrent (non-debt) expenditure of N2.98 trillion in the entire 2017 budget indicates personnel costs of N1.86 trillion (63%); overhead cost of N229.81billion (7%); service-wide-vote pensions of N89.98 billion (3%); consolidated revenue fund pensions of N191.63 billion (6%); other service-wide recurrent votes of N116.50 billion (5%); Presidential Amnesty Programme, N65 billion (2%); refund to special accounts, N50 billion (2%); and Special Intervention Programme (recurrent) – N350 billion (12%).
In a related development, a non-governmental organisation, Development Dynamics has urged the National Assembly to be transparent and disclose details of its budget.
The National Coordinator of the organisation, Jude Ohanele, in an interview with The Guardian in Abuja yesterday described the National Assembly as a “lame dock” that cannot effectively check the excesses of the executive when it operates a secret budget.
“The problem of the relationship between the National Assembly and the executive arm of government is squarely rooted in the apparent lack of capacity of the lawmakers to do their job.
“The National Assembly has been relatively incapacitated to engage effectively with the executive. The job of the lawmakers is to represent the citizens from their various constituencies and ensure that the executive prepares, gets an approval from the legislature and effectively implements the yearly budget.
“They have weakened themselves to the level that they are not able to do this job because you cannot over-sight the executive when you as an institution are not transparent.
“The fact is that as we speak, no one, including members of the National Assembly, has an idea of what the budget of the legislature for 2016 is. It is a major scandal. So, you will discover that the executive has done far better than the National Assembly in terms of transparency and openness.
“You can see figures around the national budget in the media, you can see them on the website of the Budget Office of the Federation, but you cannot see any information whatsoever on the budget of the National Assembly.
“So, an institution that is that highly secretive and non-transparent has no moral capacity to do oversight. That is why the National Assembly is a lame dock and their lame dock posture is self-imposed.”