Home Economy Lagos Chamber queries N1.081 budget votes for Pension, service and capital

Lagos Chamber queries N1.081 budget votes for Pension, service and capital

by Business News Report

By Omoh Gabriel
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has raised issues with the plan of the federal government to spend N1. 081 trillion on what its members described as conceptual and structural issues in the 2013 budget. It said that some of the provisions in the budget needs clarifications. A statement signed by the Director General of the Chamber Mr Muda Yusuf said “Following the release of the budget appropriation details by the budget office, there is need for further clarifications on aspects of the budget, especially with regard to classification of budget heads and the integrity of some of the numbers”.
According to the Chamber “Beyond the allocations to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) there are other expenditure headings with substantial allocations which require elucidation in line with democratic ideals.
“These allocations come under the broad heading of Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges. They include the following: Capital Supplementation – N621.2 billion;
Service Wide Votes -N316.8 billion; Pension and Gratuities – N143.2 billion

Total -N1081.2 billion”
Continuing the statement said “This budget head accounts for 22 per cent of total expenditure and 70 per cent of capital budget. It is critical to get explanation on these spending proposals in order to situate it within the context of national priorities and the delivery of value to the citizens. It is also important to clarify the institutions of government responsible for the management of these expenditure heads. The integrity of the budget process is fundamental to fixing the economy as the budget is a principal tool of value delivery to the citizens. The importance of transparency in the management of public funds cannot be overstated.
“Given the experience with the management of pension funds, it’s time to fully devolve the responsibility to the National Pension Commission. We should be guided by lessons of experience if we are truly committed to transformation of the economy and our society. Relevant pension legislation should be amended to make this happen. The corruption risk of direct management of pension funds by bureaucrats is very high.
“The release of the appropriation details also revealed many curious numbers which are replicated across the many of the MDAs. Examples abound with regard to allocations to the following items, among others: Food stuff and catering materials; Refreshment and meals; Office stationeries & Computer Consumables; Vehicle Maintenance-transport Equipment; Motor Vehicle Fuelling; Honorarium and sitting Allowance; Welfare Packages; Rehabilitation and Repairs of Buildings
“The allocations are in many instances difficult to justify. The worry is not the principle of the spending, but the numbers. As the National Assembly deliberates on the budget, it is important to painstakingly check the integrity of the numbers and the entire structure of the expenditure plans across the MDAs. The management of the nation’s finances should reflect the mood and conditions of the citizens. These are austere times for most citizens and the perpetuation of the culture of profligacy would further hurt the sensibilities of the people”.

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