BudgIT, a civic-tech non-profit organisation that has been at the fore advocating for financial transparency and accountability in public finances, has revealed that the 2021 budget has at least 316 duplicated capital projects worth N39.5bn.
The revelation was made on Tuesday morning in a press release. Out of the 316 duplicated projects, 115 of them are in the Ministry of Health. This is despite the refusal of the government to increase the hazard allowance of medical personnel, who are still owed a backlog of salaries.
BudgIT observed that “considering the health infrastructure deficit and the raging Covid-19 pandemic affecting Nigeria”, the revelation was very disturbing.
The 2021 budget saw a 14 per cent increase in the budget allocation to the security sector of the country from N1.78tn to N1.97tn. Between 2015 and 2021, over N10.02tn was allocated to the security sector. BudgIT noted that non-security related government agencies also receive “security votes”. A total of 117 federal agencies received “security votes” worth N24.3bn.
Nigeria currently has a N3.31tn debt servicing burden, which represents 41.63 per cent of the 2021 budget, but continues to exploit loopholes for more corruption in the system. BudgIT noted that agencies also receive allocations for capital projects they cannot execute.
“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,” the recent BudgIT publication “Demanding Budget Reforms for Resource Optimization” noted.
BudgIT CEO Gabriel Okeowo noted that “the federal government can maximise the little public funds left by blocking the leakages BudgIT has identified”.
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