Instead of palaces, what Nigeria needs is a budget that is capable of investing now for the future. What is needed is access to potable water, electricity, physical and social infrastructure, security, digitisation, rural rejuvenation, industrialisation, food security… Nigeria needs fiscal marksmanship now, rather than fiscal profligacy.
No need to beat around the bush. The 2021 national budget is riddled with duplications, padding, and possibly fraudulent intent. When it was revealed in a court filling that Tunde Ayeni gets $350,000 monthly, the disclosure got me interested in the 2021 budget. I am not an accountant but I can see mind numbing discrepancies in the budget. Journey with me and see the tables below. In the 2021 budget, the Federal Government will be paying Ayeni’s company a refund of ₦16.7 billion for the purchase of the Yola DisCo, and this is ongoing.
In Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State, a town without a king for the last 30 years, the Federal Government will be spending ₦200 million to build a palace there. ₦300 million is for selected Emirates in Plateau State. Several palaces will be built for a Seriki in Kano, a king in Bayelsa and a number of others. What is the Federal Government’s business in building palaces for traditional rulers? (Tables 2-7).
In the same town, a 400 metre-long road was constructed last year and completed by the Federal Government. Yet, the same road is budgeted for again at ₦80 million.
The Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi will be spending ₦70 million on a water system with no known location, which comes across essentially as money for the boys. (Table 8).
The Ogun-Osun River Basin Authority, with jurisdiction only in the South-West, allocated money for a project in Enugu. The location is unknown. The same road was completed last year by the Sustainable Development Goals office (SDG), a different agency of government entirely. Yet, Ogun-Osun River Basin Authority allocated money for this project last year and budgeted for it again in 2021. (Table 9).
In Ikenne local government, ₦110 million was budgeted for a water scheme. In the same Ikenne, ₦5 million was allocated for a borehole and ₦25 million for solar power for the borehole. What is the sense in digging a borehole, after spending ₦110 million for a water scheme in the same town? In another instance, ₦25 million was budgeted for street lights in Ikenne and another ₦50 million for street lights and installation. Is this duplication not a case of contract splitting? (Tables 10-13).
Tables 14 and 15 shows the duplication of the construction of a skills acquisition centre in Ikenne for ₦20 million and ₦50 million respectively. Why is this so? The sad fact is that the money to be spent is not ours to begin with. These are borrowed funds, whose interest we will saddle future generations with, yet with nothing to show for it. When will we be patriotic enough to work for the general good?
Instead of palaces, what Nigeria needs is a budget that is capable of investing now for the future. What is needed is access to potable water, electricity, physical and social infrastructure, security, digitisation, rural rejuvenation, industrialisation, food security and toilets for the prevention of open defecation. Nigeria needs fiscal marksmanship now, rather than fiscal profligacy.
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