The Senate has declared that the National Assembly lacked the powers to stop the federal ministries and agencies from repeating similar items in their annual budgets.
There have been widespread condemnations against the budgets of government ministries and agencies, which always made provision for computers, furniture and other sundry items in their annual fiscal proposals.
But reacting to the development in an interview with our correspondent on Friday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin, said the Parliament could not stop such practice.
He said the federal lawmakers could only reduce the practice through aggressive oversight.
Barau said, “It is a delicate issue. There have been some suggestions and lamentations from different quarters about the recurrence of items of expenditure every year.
“The best way to go about it is through proper oversight on the side of the National Assembly members as well as putting in place certain mechanisms within the MDAs to make sure that the items are not frivolous.
“However, the heads of MDAs argue that the said items are perishable as they can get worn out and written off. I think they don’t get written off at the same time in all the agencies. While it may become unusable in one agency or office, it could still be good in another office.
“So, we may not be able to get to the root of the matter except through oversight. We may not blame all the heads of MDAs in respect to the annual occurrence of items of expenditure in their yearly budgets. We just need to do proper oversight.”
Nigerian government spent a whooping N19bn on computer software in 2022, according to the budget proposal for the year submitted by the President, Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to the National Assembly in October.
The amount, according to the platform, was spread across nearly 200 offices, and is bound to be a lot higher as it does not cover computer and software expenditure by the armed forces and dozens of government offices whose budgets are not submitted as part of the whole to the National Assembly.
Some offices, according to PT, that were not listed in the government’s general annual budget document included the Central Bank of Nigeria, Customs Service, NNPC and Federal Inland Revenue Service.
FIRS, planned to spend a whopping N2.04 bn all by itself on computers alone, and another N1.3bn on “office stationery and computer consumables”
Also, The Civil society organisation, Centre for Social Justice, has revealed that the 2022 proposed budget of the Federal Government was littered with frivolous items to the tune of N227bn.
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