Minister Of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Addresses N206.39 billion Budget Padding Allegation

Minister Of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Addresses N206.39 billion Budget Padding Allegation

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has reacted to the allegation of budget padding after N206.39 billion appeared in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs’ budget without approval.

Office of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs had stated that it is unaware of how the sum of N206,242,395,000 found its way into the ministry’s budget for 2023.

Reacting to the discovery of the budgeted fund, Ahmed, through her Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Yunusa Abdullahi, explained that it was mistakenly allocated to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.

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“The project so referred to is domiciled in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development headquarters. The World Bank is the funding source for the National Social Safety Net-Scale Up project to the tune of $473,500,000 which is equivalent to N206,242,395,000, using the N435.57/USD exchange rate.

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“The project was correctly described in the submission from the International Economic Relations Department (IERD) for the 2023 budget. But, unfortunately, a wrong code was selected from the drop-down menu which resulted in a wrong description of the project which resulted in it being captured as ‘Purchase of Security Equipment’ in the Government Integrated Financial Management Information (GIFMIS) Budget Preparation System (BPS),” She said.

In the statement, Ahmed explained that the fund budgeted for is project-tied, “Please, note that the BPS has a limited range of encoded programme/project descriptions. Also note that the multilateral loans are usually project-tied, and have specific codes in the budget system. The multilateral loans are different from the envelopes usually given to ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

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“The funds are drawn by the beneficiary ministries under the terms of the agreements, and the financial institutions disburse directly to service providers.

“There were ample opportunities to review details for observations by ministries and corrections made by the Budget Office of the Federation (BOF).”

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