An NGO that tracks public expenditure, BudgIT, in a statement, has raised an alarm on the duplications and false categorizations of capital projects in the 2021 proposed budget.
The group disclosed that a large chunk of the total 13,343 capital projects in the 2021 proposed budget analyzed were falsely categorized as capital projects when in reality, they are not.
Capital expenditures refer to funds that are used for the purchase, improvement, or maintenance of long-term assets to improve the efficiency or capacity of the company. Long-term assets are usually physical, fixed and non-consumable assets such as property, equipment, or infrastructure, and that have a useful life of more than one accounting period.
“The government had offered hope that capital projects in the 2021 FG budget will be accompanied by precise GPS coordinates to encourage project monitoring. Not only was this not provided in the budget proposal, many capital projects also had no specific locations in the country”, the statement read in part.
“Of the 13,343 capital projects we analysed, a sizable number of projects were falsely categorized as capital projects even though in reality they are not. For instance, meetings, allowances, anniversaries and celebrations were miscategorised as capital projects. Some cases in point include; N3.3bn for “Posting and Return Entitlement of Ambassadors and Officers” in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, N74.5million allocated for “Anniversaries and Celebrations” in the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDC), N40 million for “Peculiar Allowance” in Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission, which are all categorized as capital expenditures.”
In series of tweets on its official Twitter handle ‘@BudgITng’, the organisation lamented that the 2021 proposed budget is “marred by opacity, duplications, and fragmentations” which will create huge avenue for more corruption and mismanagement of the nation’s limited resources.
“Recall that in June 2020, our analysis of Open Treasury Portal revealed that over N50bn of public funds were paid into personal accounts; allocating projects without defined location(s) is a loophole for this form of corruption to continue in the fiscal year 2021″
“Duplication, opacity and fragmentation of line items by government agencies could present opportunities for subverting checks and balances meant for accountability. As a case in point, two line items tagged “Nurse Tutor Training” and “Special Intervention SDG 1” were duplicated in 3 and 2 places, respectively, with different budget codes. These two line items have allocations totalling over N41 Billion earmarked for them, without specific descriptions”, the NGO tweeted.
“The fragmentation of capital projects is an urgent conversation that the Nigerian government needs to address. In an era of dwindling revenues caused by low oil prices and the current slump in the global economy, it is crucial for the government to pay attention to a few projects of immense social and economic value”, BudgIT added.
The group also emphasized that Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs that undermine accountability should be purnished.
“Likewise, MDAs involved in splitting their Capital Expenditure to subvert checks and balances should be identified and made to face the law”