BudgIT, a public finance transparency advocacy organization has alleged that 316 capital projects were duplicated in the 2021 approved with the consequence that if implemented based on the approved estimates, it would result in about N39.5 billion fraud.
The civil society organization in its analysis of the 2021 budget report circulated to the media indicated that the duplication of projects was one of the loopholes for corruption in the approved budget.
This is even as it noted that there were no audit records of N10.02 trillion released to the security agencies between 2015 and 2021.
It clarified: “Our investigations into the 2021 budget revealed at least 316 duplicated capital projects worth N39.5 billion, 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.
“BudgIT also found zero audit records of the N10.02 trillion received by the security sector between 2015 and 2021. Even worse, agencies now receive allocations for capital projects they cannot execute. For example, the National Agriculture Seed Council has an allocation for N400million to construct solar street lights across all six geopolitical zones, while the Federal College of Forestry in Ibadan in Oyo State got N50million for the construction of street lights in Edo State. These are aberrations that need to be corrected,” the report added.
The CSO further noted that several non-securities-related government agencies got allocations for “Security Votes”, which is more of an opaque feature of the nation’s security ecosystem lacking any process of accountability.
According to the report, in the 2021 budget, a total of 117 federal agencies received allocations for “Security Votes” worth N24.3 billion, despite many of them already having allocations for “Security Charges” to cover their security needs.
Reflecting on the report findings, BudgIT Chief Executive Officer, Gabriel Okeowo, advised the government to urgently block all loopholes in the budget preparation and implementation processes as highlighted in the organisation’s recently released publication.
He said: “Nigeria is already haunted by a staggering N3.31trillion debt servicing burden which will wipe out nearly 41.63% of the projected N7.99trillion 2021 revenue. The federal government can maximise the little public funds left by blocking the leakages BudgIT has identified.”