• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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No breakdown of over N3tn in 2024 budget — BudgIT

BudgIT Nigeria soaring higher as it opens more doors for transparency through personalized data availability

Seun Onigbinde, co-founder and CEO of BudgIT, Nigerian Civic Startup, has backed claims by Abdul Ningi that over ₦3.trillion was allocated in the 2024 budget without details of the allocation provided.

Onigbinde, said this when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Tuesday. Onigbinde said as the rowdy session by Senate was ongoing, the BudgIT team fact-checked claims by Ningi.

Ningi, who recently resigned as Chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum and faced suspension over budget allegations, had told the British Broadcasting Corporation in an interview that over N3 trillion is not tied to any project in the budget.

Speaking on Channels TV, Onigbinde said, “There should be a detailed breakdown of the budget. On that point, Ningi is right. But to say that we are running two parallel budgets, I don’t think that is factual.”

While acknowledging the absence of a breakdown for approximately N3.7 trillion in statutory transfers, Onigbinde however said this practice was not uncommon historically.

“If Senator Ningi says there is a N25trn budget, yes, that is the MDA’s budget. It’s different from the government-owned enterprises budget. In the current budget, the National Assembly gave a very broad summary of its allocations but there are no detailed allocations on a granular level that everybody can understand. TETFUND should not just get an allocation. What are you spending money on? INEC is collecting huge chunk of funds but there is no public details about what the funds are used for.

“If you put all these together, that is around N3.5 trillion to N3.7 trillion. So, if Ningi wants to interrogate that there are components of the budget where there are no breakdown, that is very factual.”

“To say this, the N3.7 trillion amount somewhere does not have a breakdown, we can’t find that in the budget in our own analysis. What I expected him (Ningi) to bring his own breakdown.

“There are statutory elements in the budgets that do not have breakdown, but that does not seem unusual , it seems like the situation is from the past. Historically, there are items in the budget that don’t have breakdown like statutory transfers like NJC, NDDC, TETFUND , that has been a campaign and advocacy point.

Onigbinde, alos observed that several projects were allocated to agencies without capacity to deliver, citing examples such as the Ministry of Agriculture, where an initial proposal of N363 billion ballooned to N993 billion with questionable projects.

He warned that it is an attempt to stall development

“The ministry of agriculture is the biggest culprits of this”, he said. “The executive proposed N363 billion for the ministry of agriculture budget. It came out to be N993 billion, over N600 billion worth of thousands of projects were put in. And you have some agencies that have become notorious . Federal Cooperative college , Orji River, is a school now building a town hall almost 1000 kilometers far away from the school. That is not accountability , what is the technical capability of the Federal Cooperative college to deliver a hall?

“And if you look at the budget , it has nothing to do about the capability of those MDAs to deliver. So the executive is losing its power to actually steer the budget in the side of development.

He therefore called on President Bola Tinubu to take immediate action to address the situation. Onigbinde specifically urged the President to set a cap in what can be inserted into the budget.

“The president needs to step in. This is a brazen attempt not to make development happen. And he has to come into a political solution . I don’t think legislative solution is a way out of this, I believe the budget being a law can be amemd and tweaked by the National Assembly. The President has to set a cap on what can be inserted in the budget, that would be a political solution”, he urged.