Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Dataphyte raises alarm over duplicated, ambiguous items in 2021 budget

Nigeria’s budget estimates have long been notorious for duplication of items and padding of proposed expenditures.

• November 29, 2020
President Muhammadu Buharu and Senate President Lawan
President Muhammadu Buhari and Senate President Ahmad Lawan

Social accountability think-tank, Dataphyte, has raised the alarm over duplicated and unclear budgetary provisions in the 2021 Appropriation Bill.

The data analytics group, in a series of tweets on Saturday, uncovered some duplicated items in the proposed 2021 fiscal plan presented to the National Assembly in October by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The organisation also described as outrageous, the astronomical sums budgeted for some ambiguous projects in the spending plan for next year.

Among those listed by Dataphyte were the budgetary provision of N100.8 million for the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation under the line item: “Policy and Programme Coordination/Review (Policies Assessment/Impact Review),” and N69.05 million for digitalisation of files and other records in the SGF’s office.

Others included N600m earmarked for “Security education and public engagement across the country” for the State Security Service; N550m for consultancy for the implementation of e-border, e-correctional and the database of the Ministry of Interior; and N1.1 billion for rehabilitation and upgrade of Ikoyi marriage registry.

Also included were N250m for “Computer software and hardware acquisition” by the EFCC, N443.5m for “purchase of operational and other vehicles” for the anti-graft agency; and N179.1m for “digitalisation of Nigeria Police personnel records database.”

Dataphyte disclosed that the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism proposed N100m for “Skill acquisition/empowerment programme for women in hair braiding,” while the National Institute for Cultural Orientation budgeted N50.5m for “annual roundtable on cultural orientation.”

The Presidential Villa earmarked N4.85bn for electrical works, Dataphyte said, adding that the Ministry of Information and Culture budgeted N51.5m for “production of federal government calendar.”

Highlighting duplications in the 2021 budget proposal, the research think-tank revealed that the Nigerian Army budgeted N1 billion for “movement of Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administration (NAFSA) to Epe Lagos (Phase one)” and N600 million for “movement of Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administration (NAFSA) to Oyo military cantonment (Phase).”

Dataphyte also uncovered budgetary provision of N450m for “movement of Headquarters Nigerian Army Physical Training School from Zaria to Riga Chikun, Kaduna (Phase one).”

“These items were duplicated by the Nigerian Army in the proposed #2021Budget. If the National Assembly does not probe this, Nigeria will lose over 2 billion naira,” the organisation tweeted.

An army spokesman did not return requests from Peoples Gazette for clarification.

Nigeria’s budget estimates have been notorious for duplication of items and padding of proposed expenditures within the last decade.

Many Nigerians have encouraged social  accountability groups and civil society organisations to intensify efforts in holding public officials to account through fiscal analysis and data-driven approach.

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