A recent report on financial transparency has revealed that Nigeria’s 2021 budget has in it 316 duplicated capital projects worth over 39.5 billion with 115 of these projects in the ministry of Health. This was revealed by BudgIT, a civic-tech non-profit organisation that has been at the fore advocating for financial transparency and accountability in public finances.
BudgIT in the announcement on Tuesday said that out of the 316 duplicated projects, 115 of them are in the Ministry of Health as this was despite the refusal of the government to increase the hazard allowance of medical personnel who are yet to be paid a backlog of salaries. The report also observed that the revelation sounds disturbing when the health infrastructure deficit and raging covid-19 pandemic effect on Nigeria is considered.
Gabriel Okeowo, the chief executive officer at BudgIT, in the report stated that: as noted in recent BudgIT publication on demanding Budget Reforms for Resource Optimization, the National Agriculture Seed Council has an allocation for N400 million to construct solar street lights across all six geopolitical zones, while the Federal College of Forestry in Ibadan in Oyo State got N50 million for the construction of street lights in Edo State.”
The CEO also noted that the federal government can maximise the little public funds available by blocking the leakages it has identified in the report.
Meanwhile, the full year 2021 budget saw a 14 per cent rise in the budget allocation to the security sector of the country from N1.78 trillion to N1.97 trillion. However, over N10.02 trillion has been set aside for the security sector in Nigeria between 2015 and 2021. But as identified by BudgIT, non-security related government agencies also received “security votes” bringing it to a total of 117 federal agencies that have received “security votes” worth N24.3 billion.
Also, BudgIT has, in the recent report, noted that several government agencies received allocations for capital projects they cannot execute. Consequently, Nigeria currently has a debt servicing burden of N3.31 trillion which represents 41.63 per cent of the 2021 budget but has focused on the exploitation of loopholes for more corruption in the system.