Tracka Flaws N732Bn Allocation To Empowerment Projects In 2024 Budget

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Tracka, BudgIT’s service delivery promotion platform, which allows citizens to collaborate, track, and give feedback on public projects in their communities, has flawed the Federal Government on the allocation of  N732.5 billion worth of empowerment projects in the 2024 for Capital and Constituency Projects to the neglect of needy sectors, particularly the health sector with  N646.5 billion allocation for projects in the fiscal year.

The civil society advocacy platform, lamented the low allocation to the health sector despite the 2023 record of Nigeria having the second-highest child mortality rate in the world, adding that the government has shown no signs of tackling these critical emergencies head-on, as the allocations in the 2024 budget do not reflect priority in the health sector.

Tracka maintained that empowerment projects were vague and challenging to track due to their nature. They are also used as a funnel to transfer public resources to party loyalists, resulting in the misuse of public funds.

It further noted that in the 2024 Federal Government budget, there were 4,440 empowerment projects, recalling that previously, empowerment projects are limited to constituency projects, but over the years, they have gradually seeped into capital projects through insertions by the National Assembly.

For instance, Tracka noted the National Assembly inserted 7,447 projects valued at N2.24 trillion in the 2024 budget. Tracka identifies this as a problematic trend, considering the huge infrastructure gap and budget deficits the nation is grappling with.

According to the civil-tech platform, a further analysis of the empowerment projects showed that over 2,558 projects worth N624 billion were allocated to agencies outside their mandate. An example is the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) – ERGP20241489 – allocated N5 billion for the Procurement and Distribution of Official Vehicles to Selected Traditional Rulers in the Six Geo-Political Zones in Nigeria (Multiple Lots). Another is the Nigeria Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NiOMR) – ERGP20245718 – allocated N2.32 billion to construct a 3.5km Road from  Methodist Church Ibu to the Eri River.

Commenting on the lopsidedness of the budgetary allocations, BudgIT’s Country Director, Gabriel Okeowo, expressed concern over the worrisome development.

He said: “The implications of assigning projects to agencies outside of their mandate are that it undermines monitoring, evaluation, and the sustainability of these projects. These agencies lack the expertise and personnel to ensure quality service delivery for these projects, leading to under-delivery and a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money and scarce resources.”

Tracka calls on anti-graft agencies to probe the fiscal “anomalies in the 2024 budget to forestall diversion, misappropriation, and embezzlement.”

In addition, it charged elected representatives and Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to provide timely updates to the public and ensure the quality implementation of these projects to ensure Nigerians derive maximum benefits from yearly budgets.


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