BudgIT Nigeria, a civic-tech NGO has said that the 2021 budget was padded by N39.5billion through numerous loopholes. In its report, the organisation cited 316 duplicated capital projects totalling N39.5 billion, a 14% increase to the security sector allocation with no audit done in 5 years and many others. The NGO said this in a statement signed by Iyanu Fatoba, its Communications Associate titled “Corruption loopholes in the budget process” and called for immediate budget reforms to close the loopholes.
It said there are 316 duplicated capital projects totalling N39.5 billion and there had been zero audit records of the N10.02 trillion received by the security sector between 2015 and 2021. According to the report a total of 117 federal agencies received allocations for “Security Votes” worth N24.3 billion, despite many of these agencies already having allocations for “Security Charges” to cover each agency’s security needs. It further said that some agencies also received budget allocations for projects they cannot execute citing a N400 million allocation to the National Agriculture Seed Council to construct solar street lights across all six geopolitical zones. The Federal College of Forestry in Ibadan, Oyo State, got N50m for the construction of street lights in Edo State.
The report warned that Nigeria’s rising debt service burden is projected to wipe out nearly 41.63% of the projected N7.99 trillion revenue for the accounting year and urged that closing budgetary leakages is a major step in reducing bloated government expenses. President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2021 Appropriation Bill of N13.588 trillion into law on the 31st December 2020. The Federal Government of Nigeria achieved a debt service to revenue ratio of 83% in 2020, which was disclosed in the budget implementation report of the government for the year ended December 2020. The total revenue earned in 2020 was N3.93 trillion representing a 27% drop from the target revenues of N5.365 trillion. However, debt service for the year was a sum of N3.26 trillion or 82.9% of revenue.