July 14, 2024

Nigerians have continued to express displeasure at the alleged padding of the 2024 budget.

Some are concerned about the huge figures involved in the allegations, while others are alleging that the Senate attempted to “sweep under the carpet” the allegations, with the suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauchi).

Recall that Ningi was last week suspended for three months over the allegation.

The former chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum had claimed in a BBC Hausa Service interview that the 2024 budget was padded to the tune of N3.7 trillion.

During the debate over Ningi’s allegation, Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe (Cross River) had revealed that “senior senators” were allegedly allocated constituency projects worth N500 million in the  budget.

This had led to more revelations with several senators having to clarify how much was allocated to them.

Over the weekend, Nigerians explored different platforms, including the social media, radio and television, to express their views on the matter.

Some of those who spoke to Daily Trust yesterday, including former senators, called for a holistic investigation into Ningi’s allegations.

N212bn streetlights, N82.5bn boreholes part of insertions

Findings by BudgIT, a foremost civic-tech organisation with specialty in budget analytics, revealed that the National Assembly inserted a total of 7,447 projects totaling N2.24 trillion in the 2024 Budget, with 55 projects with cumulative value of N580.7 billion costing at least N5 billion each.

BudgIT’s findings also showed that N100 billion envelope was earmarked in the 2024 Executive Budget Proposal for lawmakers to nominate constituency/zonal intervention projects in their constituencies, but that the lawmakers went above the amount earmarked “to insert thousands of constituency-like projects in the budgets of 326 MDAs that in most cases neither have the mandate nor technical capacity to implement and monitor the execution of the projects.

“For example, 1,777 projects worth N218.6 billion are to be directly delivered in federal constituencies while 1,308 projects with a value of N176 billion are directly in senatorial districts. Other categories of projects include 1,150 streetlights worth N212 billion, 427 boreholes worth N82.5 billion, 170 ICT projects with a value of N30.95 billion, and N7.61 billion for empowerment of traditional rulers. If our analysis shows that 1,308 projects are to be implemented specifically in senatorial districts, it is not out of place that apart from the constituency projects, lawmakers also added up projects to their constituencies, at least N500 million each.”

Meanwhile, a report that analysed the details of the 2024 Budget has revealed that the senatorial district of the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, comprising 10 local government areas in Akwa Ibom State, might have gotten as much as N90 billion worth of projects, with at least 280 of such domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

A breakdown of the budget shows that N7.2 billion was allocated for construction and equipping of ICT centres; N395 million for construction and equipping of community schools; N957 million for supply of sewing machines, hairdressing/barbing equipment, and deep freezers; N50 million for construction of district head palace; N4 billion for construction of police stations.

Others include N12.7 billion for construction of roads within communities and supply of transformers; N3.1 billion for farm implements, motorcycles, tricycles, welding machine to artisans, and buses; N4.5 billion for empowerment materials and training of women and youths and provision of grants; N474 million for security cars; N1.22 billion for educational materials to selected schools; N1.220 billion for medical supplies and equipment to health centres; N2.996 billion for starter packs for youths and women

Also included is N7.551 billion for solar powered boreholes and streetlights; N1.095 billion for workspace and farm stalls; N475 million for development of agricultural value chains; N4.090 billion for equipment of primary healthcare centres.

DAILY TRUST

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