• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria 2021 budget ignores recession, includes ‘frivolous’ allocations

2021 Supplementary budget: Matters Arising

Provisions in the 2021 budget recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari indicate that the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, plans to spend a total of N2.159b just to furnish its head office, at a time the country is reeling under a difficult recession.

The anti-drug agency has a total budgetary provision of N12.56b under the 2021 budget, with salaries and overheads put at N9.195b and N398.97m, respectively.

The agency was allocated a total of N2.965b for capital expenditure, out of which furniture for its headquarters alone, will gulp a whopping N2.159b.

Despite the government funding challenges, investigations into the 2021 budget show that the planned spending for some federal government agencies do not reflect the economic realities on ground.

The 2021 budget came, on the backdrop of the COVID-19 global economic crisis that impacted negatively on the global oil market and saw government revenues fall by as much as 60%, with significant slump in crude oil prices.

The N 13.6 trillion budget is expected to accelerate the pace of Nigeria’s economic recovery, promote economic diversification, enhance competitiveness and ensure social inclusion.

Aptly tagged “Budget of Economic Recovery and Resilience”, by President Muhammadu Buhari, it was designed to take Nigeria out of its current recession within the first quarter of 2021.

Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed had noted that for the government to achieve budget objectives, it will “require bold, decisive and urgent actions”, adding that “Government is determined to act as may be required.”

But allocations for frivolous spending by some government agencies does not suggest that the government is serious about using the budget to pull through those objectives.

BusinessDay checks revealed that other items in the capital expenditure list of the NDLEA include for instance, the purchase of Staff / Utility bus at the cost of N250 million.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture also budgeted some N1.729b for the National Agricultural Insurance Corporation, whose operations and achievements remain unclear.

Out of the amount, the sum of N1.309b is said to be for “Federal government premium subsidy obligations to farmers”, which from records is hardly or successfully implemented.

The balance is to be used to purchase motorcycles and tricycles at the cost of N100m to be distributed to youths in Funtua, Katsina State, while balance N290m, is said to be for the “training and empowerment of women and youths in Lagos state.

Similarly, the Ministry of Water Resources has been allocated N88.334bn to revive the 12 river basin development authorities, despite their low productivity, and serving as conduits pipes over the years.

A breakdown of the allocations revealed that Anambra/ Imo river basin will receive N8.625b, Benin/ Owena N5.874b, Chad Basin N5.345b, Hadejia Jamaa’re, N12.045b , Cross Rivers basin N4.448b, while the Lower Benue basin authority will get N14.311b .

Others include, the Lower Niger basin, N6.201b, Niger Delta river basin authority, N5.133b, Ogun/Osun, N4.945b, Sokoto Rima basin N8.710b, Upper Benue authority, N5.408b and the Lower Niger River basin authority, N7.288b.

The Ministry also maintains the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, which got a budget of N1.161b, the Nigeria Integrated Water Management Commission, which also received N904.853m, as well as the National Water Resources Institute, which got N2.178b

The federal government also budgeted the sum of N2.03 billion for the Procurement of 331,000 Cylinders of six kilograms, each complete with burners to be distributed to some women in 15 States, including; Gombe, Bauchi, Kwara, Plateau, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa, Oyo,
Osun, Enugu, Imo, Delta, Bayelsa And Akwa-ibom.

Similarly, the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission continues to exist side by side with the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission RMAFC, despite several calls for their merger into one agency, rather than the current duplication of roles.

Under the 2021 budget, the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission received a budgetary allocation of N950m, with N645.693m allocated as personnel cost, N193.9m for overheads and a Capital allocation of N110.455m

The nomadic education has also continued to receive funding despite the little impact it has made in the life of Fulani herdsmen.

Under the 2021 budget, the Nomadic Education Commission also got N1.534b allocation

Out of the funds, N901.270m was allocated as capital expenditure, while personnel cost and recurrent expenditure were put at N633.086m