A Nigerian civic tech group BudgIT Tuesday released a report in which it claimed that the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari approved 316 duplicated projects in the 2021 budget. The Nigerian Government is yet to react to the content of the report.
The report explained how the Nigerian Government Agencies have billions of naira reportedly earmarked as security votes – a fund usually given to state governments by the government to equip the security arms.
“Our analysis of the #2021Budget reveals over 316 duplicated capital projects totaling N39.5bn, among other loopholes for corruption,” BudgIT said in the report.
BudgIT said it also found zero audit records of the N10.02tn received by the security sector between 2015 and 2021. Buhari was sworn in as Nigeria’s president on May 29, 2015.
The group lamented that the non-audit of security funds happened as a precedent for the increasing insecurity in many parts of Nigeria.
“2021 has been a horrifying year for Nigerians concerning security – as the country combats mutating forms of crime and terror – across all its 36 states. This is despite allocating over N10.02tn to security between 2015 and 2021,” BudgIT said in the analysis of the report to be published later on Tuesday, May 4.
“In the 2021 budget, the entire security sector’s allocation was N1.97tn, representing a 14% increase from the N1.78tn allocated in 2020.
“Increased resources allocated to the security sector means that less money is available to develop other sectors; thus, there is a need for more scrutiny of how these allocations are budgeted and spent. ”
BudgIT said many non-security-related government agencies now request and receive allocations for “Security Votes”, an opaque feature of the Nigerian security ecosystem devoid of accountability.
In the 2021 budget, the report said, a total of 117 federal agencies received allocations for “Security Votes” worth N24.3bn, despite many of these agencies already have allocations for “Security Charges” to cover each agency’s security needs.
BudgIT stated that it “observed that the little budgetary allocation provided to other sectors are plagued with various loopholes for leakages and theft of public funds.
“Our investigations into the 2021 budget revealed at least 316 duplicated capital projects worth N39.5bn, 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.”
The group said it’s even worse that government agencies now receive allocations for capital projects they cannot execute.
“For example, 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, Oyo State, got N50m for the construction of street lights in Edo State. These are aberrations that need to be corrected,” BudgIT said.
“Nigeria is already haunted by a staggering N3.31tn debt servicing burden which will wipe out nearly 41.63% of the projected N7.99tn 2021 revenue.”
The group urged the Nigerian government and National Assembly to maximize the little public funds left by blocking the leakages it has identified.