Nigeria’s federal lawmakers are set to remove a whooping sum of N37 billion from the 2016 budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari. The budget which has been a subject of controversy since it submission the Senate said it just uncovered 25 fresh errors in it.
According to reports, the items involved are allocated about N37, 025, 238, 407 which the Senate and House of Representatives committees on Appropriation described about N21,623,323,649 voted for office repairs as avoidable.
The Nation newspaper in its report said mistakes were made in the following eight areas: Duplication of budget line items; Budget items with quantities not specified; Budget items with no location; Large amount of money being appropriated for rehabilitation/repairs of office /residential buildings and purchase of office furniture and fittings;
Budget items repeated over the past four years; Curious budget line items; Non-priority budget items; and Wrongly classified budget items.
Recall that President Buhari recently redeployed civil servants he claimed were responsible for the budget padding. Some persons have described the redeployment as a slap on the writs of the civil servants and a shame on the president’s anti-corruption war. Quoting a source, the report said: “We have identified 25 new errors in the budget involving about N37, 025, 238, 407billion. “From the budget, we have discovered that the vote for the generation of 700 MW from Zungeru hydropower project was duplicated seven times and titled MOPWH161021632-40. For the same project, the amounts voted are as follows N750m, N113, 465, 000, N139, 426, 180, N126, 624, 383, N93, 767, 500 and N160, 000, 000.
“The National Bureau of Statistics projected to spend N256, 920,000 and N230, 705, 000 in the same budget on procurement of equipment, vehicles and furniture. At our session, we were amazed that we could still be having two estimates for the same project. Also, the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) is planning to execute Integration of Road Reference System with N150, 940,000 (FERMA 18015998) and N15,000, 000(FERMA 18021621) respectively.
“On its part, the National Intelligence Agency(NIA) is expected to use N2, 479, 581, 721 as refund to states for Federal Government Road Projects and the Ministry of Youth and Sport will spend N1, 731, 050,000 on kitting of Armed Forces and the Federal Airport of Nigeria(FAAN) has been allocated N340, 707, 625 for Wildlife Conservation.
These are evidence of padding still subsisting in the budget. “From less than a dozen MDAs, over N21 billion can be saved and re-allocated to create needed jobs for the millions of unemployed youths.
“The money budgeted for rehabilitation/repairs (N10,774,052,415.00) by the ministry of Interior alone is more than double the entire budget of the Ministry of Women Affairs (N3,974,395,038).
“More money should rather be voted for the Ministry of Women Affairs to be able to invest in the economic empowerment of women.
“The MDAs will not collapse if these projects are postponed to a future date when the country can easily afford to execute them. “In the budget of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation(OSGF), Procurement and Installation of security system has become a recurring decimal.”
“With due respect to SGF Babachir Lawal, we have realised that those in charge of the budget of OSGF might have committed blunders. For 2016, the OSGF has budgeted N1, 710, 322, 610 for procurement and installation of security system. The same office budgetted the following amounts in the last three years on the same item: N527, 000,000(2013); N1, 161, 356, 582(20140 and N316, 420, 274(2015).”
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