BudgIT, a civic-tech non-profit organisation leading the advocacy for transparency and accountability in public finance in Nigeria, has uncovered 316 duplicated Capital projects worth N39.5billion in the 2021 budget.
A statement by the communications associate at BudgIT, Iyanu Fatoba, quoted the BudgIT's CEO, Gabriel Okeowo as saying “2021 has been a horrifying year for Nigerians concerning security as the country combats mutating forms of crime and terror across all its 36 states; this is despite allocating over N10.02tn to security between 2015 and 2021. In the 2021 budget, the entire security sector’s allocation was N1.97tn, representing a 14% increase from the N1.78tn allocated in 2020.”
On December 31, President Buhari signed the 2021 Appropriation Bill worth N 13.588trn into law.
The signing was done more than a week after federal lawmakers passed the budget and raised its sum by N508bn.
Okeowo disclosed that out of the identified 316 duplicated projects, 115 are in the ministry of health.
“Our investigations into the 2021 budget revealed at least 316 duplicated capital projects worth N39.5bn, with 115 of those duplicate projects occurring in the Ministry of Health. This is very disturbing especially considering the health infrastructure deficit and the raging COVID-19 pandemic affecting Nigeria.”
“Even worse, agencies now receive allocations for capital projects they cannot execute. For example, the National Agriculture Seed Council has an allocation for N400m to construct solar street lights across all six geopolitical zones, while the Federal College of Forestry in Ibadan in Oyo State got N50m for the construction of street lights in Edo State. These are aberrations that need to be corrected,” he said.
“Nigeria is already haunted by a staggering N3.31tn debt servicing burden which will wipe out nearly 41.63% of the projected N7.99tn 2021 revenue. The federal government can maximise the little public funds left by blocking the leakages BudgIT has identified.” Okeowo added.
Mr. Okeowo urged the federal government to urgently block all loopholes in the budget creation and implementation process, some of which are contained in the BudgIT's report.