Many Constituency Projects In 2024 Budget Not Targeted At Development - BudgIT
Seun Onigbinde, Co-founder BudgIT

Many Constituency Projects In 2024 Budget Not Targeted At Development – BudgIT

1 month ago
3 mins read

Seun Onigbinde, Co-founder of BudgIT, a civic organisation focused on Nigerian budget and public data, has observed that most of the projects listed in the 2024 national budget, especially for constituencies are not targeted at national development.

Onigbinde said he and his team have in the course of examining the approved 2024 national budget found out that there were many discrepancies and arbitrary allocation of constituency projects by the lawmakers.

He said such a trend did not start with the 10th National Assembly but was equally done by the 9th Assembly.

He cautioned that in as much as the National Assembly has the powers of appropriation, such should be used in a responsible manner for the greater good.

The data expert described as “ridiculous” the insertion of over 7,000 projects worth over N2.2 trillion into the budget by the National Assembly.

Mr Onigbinde, who was a guest on Channels Television Politics Today programme on Tuesday, said: “People now put construction of Anglican Church hall into the budget and that’s what we have become now. It is no longer about what is framed as national development. This is not a local government budget, this is not a state budget but that of the Federal Government of Nigeria and it has now become so indiscriminate that everybody now inserts anything into it.”

He said called on the President and his team to create time and review whatever the National Assembly has added to the budget before signing it into law.

He also observed that there were instances where projects were categorised under some agencies and corporate organisations that do not have the capacity to execute them.

He said some agencies have become notorious for such practice. He cited Federal Cooperative College Oji River as one of the agencies that usually gets a chunk of projects not related to it anchored under it. ”You see something like the Federal Cooperative College Oji River, which is a school now building a town hall almost 1,000 kilometers far away from the school. That’s not accountability,” he stated.

“The executive is actually losing its powers to stir the budget on the side of development.

READ ALSO: Senate Suspends Ningi For 3 Months Over Budget Padding Allegation

I think the president has to step in at this point because this is a brazen attempt not to make development happen,” he added.

Speaking on the raging controversy over budget padding allegations that led to the suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi, of Bauchi Central, Abdul Ningi, Onigbinde said the embattled lawmaker was right that there were no detailed project allocations for about N3.7 trillion out of the total N28.78 trillion 2024 budget.

Ningi, who is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was suspended by the Senate on Tuesday over budget padding allegations.

The BudgIT co-founder said he and his team fack-checked Ningi’s claim as the senate plenary session was going on and could not verify the claim by Ningi that about N3.7 trillion was missing from the N28.78 trillion.

He corroborated the clarification made by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, during the plenary that there are statutory items in the budget that do not have a breakdown.

“Historically there are items in the budget that do not have a breakdown, for example, statutory transfers like NJC, NHRC, NDDC, TETFund, they don’t have a statutory breakdown,” Onigbide explained.

He added that if Senator Ningi says there is a N25 trillion budget, that could be true for MDAs excluding Government-owned Enterprises (GOE).

He, however, noted that it does not mean the country is running a concurrent budget as Senator Ningi reportedly claimed.

Areas in the budget that breakdown was excluded from the document include GOEs, N1.88 trillion; TETFund, N700 billion; National Judicial Council, N341.63 trillion; National Assembly, N344.85; Public Complaints Commission, N14.46 trillion; and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), N40 billion; which make a total of N3.32 trillion.

“There should be a detailed breakdown of the budget. On that point, Senator Ningi is right but to say that we are running two parallel budgets, I don’t think that is factual,” Onigbide said.

He further asserted that those allocations should be detailed to enable the public to know what is to be spent on each item and why such is justified.

“The INEC has been collecting huge sums of funds and there is no public details about what those funds are used for, even the National Assembly. In the current budget, the National Assembly gave a very broad summary of its allocation, but there are no detailed allocations at the granular level that nobody can interrogate.”

He therefore argued that such a system raises questions about the transparency in spending the funds being allocated for such a line of items.

“There Should be a detailed breakdown to the public on those list of items just like they did for others like finance budget, national planning, among others,” he further advised.

READ ALSO: Simple ‘I’m Sorry’ Could Have Saved Ningi From Suspension – Sen. Abba Moro










Victor Ezeja is a passionate journalist with six years of experience writing on economy, politics and energy. He holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication.

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