BudgIT

Over 90.6 percent of the 6,529 new projects inserted into the 2018 budget by the National Assembly do not align with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.

According to BudgIT, a public finance analytics organisation, most of the items have a unit value below N200 million.

Signed by Abiola Afolabi, Communications Lead of BudgIT, the organisation yesterday, expressed displeasure with what it called “the masking and insertion of several opaque items with little or no bearing on the economy” by the National Assembly.

A recent analysis by BudgIT shows that approximately 6, 529 new projects valued at N579.08 billion was inserted into the 2018 budget by the National Assembly.

It stated: “Out of the 6,529 new projects entered into the budget, 90.6 percent or 5918 items have a unit value below N200 million. Also, the projects cannot be directly linked to the written, medium-term aspirations of the government as highlighted in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

“An analysis of the inserted projects shows that N63.64 billion or approximately 11 percent of the new projects added by the National Assembly will be spent on various training and capacity building programmes in 2018. Given that the budget will be largely funded by borrowings (as highlighted in the 2018 fiscal plan), it is disheartening to discover that most of the identified line items therein show a significant disconnect from the developmental goals of government, as stated in its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). We are alarmed at the number of micro-projects added by the National Assembly that may not fall within the core scope of the Federal Government.

“We also noticed that the new projects inserted into the budget are fragmented, and budget line items are accompanied with vague descriptions that will prove difficult to monitor or track in physical and auditing terms.

“It is equally essential for the National assembly to explain the rationale behind the increased allocations to itself as such cannot be justified given the abysmal distribution to the education and health sector, considering that National Assembly increased its budgetary allocation from N125 billion to N139.5 billion.

“We also observed that projects valued at N13.16 billion were cancelled altogether without detailed explanation by the National Assembly.

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