The Centre for Social Justice on Wednesday faulted the 2020 budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly, stating that the fiscal document contained about N150.07bn expenditures that are “frivolous, inappropriate, unclear and wasteful.”
The group stated this in a report made available to our Correspondent by its Lead Director, Eze Onyekpere.
The report analysed the 2020 budget of about N10.33trn, which is currently before the National Assembly.
The group in the report called on the lawmakers to critically review the fiscal document in order to remove “all the expenditures that would not impact positively on the lives of the people.”
It recommended that many expenditure in the budget should either be slashed for being “too high” or removed for “being duplicated” in the expenditure of another agency of government.
Onyekpere noted if the recommendations of the report are implemented, it would save the country about N150.77bn.
Speaking on the report, he said that at a time when Nigeria has been rated as the poverty capital of the world,every item of expenditure in the federal budget should reflect the best value for money.
He said, “The executive budget is still suffused with projects described as meaningless jargons, words that have no fixed meaning, duplication of projects under different names; projects without locations and others that have nothing to do with the mandate of the ministry, department or agency which they are proposed.
“When the Ministry of Agriculture has a project on the promotion and development of the rice or wheat value chain, what exactly is the deliverable.
“The use of loose words like empowerment, capacity building, skills acquisition and upgrading without a contextual description of what the expenditure will achieve is simply not the terminal at to expend public resources.
“When the Nigerian Stores Products Research Institute in Ilorin is engaged in the construction of solar motorised boreholes in selected locations in the six geopolitical zones, supply of operations utility vehicles, tricycles, upgrade of stadia, an alarm cell should go off.
“What is the mandate of the research institute and how will the foregoing facilitate the realisation of that mandate.
He added, “Ministries like works and housing, water resources are suffused with too many projects which available resources cannot support and therefore the resources are so thinly spread.
“It is inappropriate to continue wasting money on projects that will not deliver results due to very thin funding. The funds are wasted and the people service no value.”
Giving a breakdown of some of the expenses that made up the unclear expenditure, the report said in the state house for instance, the sum of N526.23m which was allocated for replacement of vehicle spare parts and tyres was bogus and should be reduced by 50 per cent to N263.11m.
It added that the N4.06bn which was also budgeted for annual routine maintenance of the villa should be reduced by 50 per cent to N2.03bn.
“Annual routine maintenance cannot cost so much. And there is a second sum for maintenance of office and residential quarters.
The report also stated that the huge vote of N652.26m for concession of Ajaokuta Steel Company should be removed as such fund was not needed to concession the project.