BudgIT Nigeria has faulted the proposed 2021 budget, over N642.06 billion it identified as wasteful and unnecessary expenditure in the budget.
In a statement posted on its Twitter handle the social advocacy group called The attention of the National Assembly to four categories of expenditure items in the proposed budget that needs rigorous legislative scrutiny.
The four categories according to BudgIT are:
1.MISPLACED PRIORITIES: N17bn will be spent by govt officials on International travels & trainings that can be done virtually. Whereas 38 Federal Hospitals do not have allocations for medical supplies.
The N64.75bn allocated for the construction of government buildings across all MDAs should be reviewed downwards, seeing that nearly 135,000km of roads in Nigeria are untarred, obstructing the movement of goods and people. The latter needs more investment.
Also, the N11.9bn capital allocation to the police formations and commands is quite small considering the dearth of equipment needed to provide security for almost 200m people and the poor state of police barracks.
2. POTENTIAL WASTE: About N24bn was allocated for “Security Votes” across 122 MDAs, whereas, 93 of the MDAs already have allocations for “Security Charges” in the budget. These allocations should be reviewed by National Assembly, especially for the 93 MDAs.
At least N18.91bn was allocated for the purchase of motor vehicles across all MDAs. This allocation is too high and should be revised by National Assembly.
3. NO PROJECT BREAKDOWN: Projects captured below have allocations of over N150bn with no comprehensive breakdown, the National Assembly should ensure that the government releases project details, locations, executing agencies and list of beneficiaries for proper accountability.
4. MISCLASSIFICATION OF LINE ITEMS: Proposed 2021 Budget shows N221bn allocation for “reform communications” under CAPEX for Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, meanwhile some of these funds are for multilateral & bilateral funded loan projects, including onward disbursement of grants to state govts.
However, N129bn was allocated to Research & Devt in Federal Ministry of Transportation, but the breakdown shows that the fund will be used for a railway project.
The allocation of N5.5m to the Office of the Auditor-General for “Refund to States for Federal Govt Road Projects” seems low & might not also be the responsibility of Office of the Auditor-General. Using allocations meant for a particular line item/project in the 2021 Budget for another should be discouraged as this creates opportunities for corruption, misappropriation and embezzlement. Such occurrences must be corrected by the National Assembly.
BudgIT also advised the National Assembly on the need to ensure the prioritization of issues that benefit the masses.
“Allocating more funds on expenditures that benefit govt officials to the detriment of expenditures that benefit Nigerians is not acceptable.” It said.
“The National Assembly should also ensure that the government and all MDAs publish project details, locations and beneficiaries for all projects in the 2021Budget.” It added.