How the National Assembly is abusing its appropriation powers, fueling inefficiency and waste-BudgIT

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    BudgIT a civic Right Organisation has accused the National Assembly of abusing appropriation powers, fueling inefficacy and wastes.

    “Overall, while the 2021 approved budget contained 19,017 capital projects, the 2021 proposed budget contained 13,416 projects, signalling that 5,601 capital projects were added to the Appropriation Bill during the review of the Bill by the National Assembly”, Said BudgIT.

    “It was observed that the monetary value of the 5,601 inserted projects summed up to N913.15bn (which is 21.8% of the total capital expenditure for 2021), spread across 32 Mother Ministries and 327 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government.

     

    Similarly, in 2022, and alluded to by the President during the signing of the 2022 Appropriation Act, BudgIT observed that 6,462 projects were inserted by the National Assembly across 37 Mother Ministries and 340 MDAs. Cumulatively, the monetary value of the National Assembly insertions in the 2022 Appropriations Act was N910.37bn (which is 22.07% of the total capital expenditure for 2022)”, BudgIT stated Furtgher.

     

    “A critical look at the nature of insertions for the years under review, 2021 and 2022, revealed that the majority of the insertions are projects that ideally should be the responsibilities of subnational governments (state and local governments). Furthermore, despite the fact that the Executive had earmarked N100bn for Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIPs)—also known as constituency projects, nominated by the 365 Federal House of Representative Members and 109 Senators—BudgIT identified, as part of the insertions, 1,581 “Federal Constituency” projects in the 2021 Appropriation Act and 1,834 “Federal Constituency” projects in the 2022 Appropriation Act valued at N105bn and N137.07bn respectively”.

    “In the same vein, the 2021 Act had 1,055 insertions valued at N103.15bn, which were projects in senatorial districts, while the 2022 Act had 1,235 insertions valued at N139.26bn, which were projects in senatorial districts. The aforementioned is a clear indication that the National Assembly leveraged the appropriation powers granted it by the constitution to exceed the N100bn ZIPs envelope to insert ‘constituency-like’ projects into the 2021 and 2022 Appropriation Acts”.

    Lawan

    “It is worthy of note that 614 street light projects with a cumulative value of N75.83bn, which were insertions observed in 2021, increased to 902 street light projects in 2022 valued at N114.95bn. Likewise, the construction of civic/town halls and installation of boreholes, which ordinarily should be the duty of local governments, were inserted into the 2021 and 2022 budgets. While the installation of 364 boreholes and construction of 47 civic/town halls were insertions observed in 2021, the installation of 365 boreholes and construction of 73 civic/town halls were insertions observed in 2022”, BudgIT pointed out.

     

    An evaluation of the monetary classification of the insertions by the National Assembly reveals that the bulk of the insertions were projects valued between N10m and N500m. While the 2021 and 2022 budgets, respectively, had 135 and 105 insertions valued at less than N10m, the aforementioned budgets had 1 and 9 insertions, respectively, costing above N5bn. To further disaggregate this classification, 2,048 insertions in 2021 and 1,957 insertions in 2022 were projects valued between N10m and N49.99m. Likewise, 1985 insertions in 2021 and 2592 insertions in 2022 were projects valued between N100m and N499.99m.

     

    “Corroborated by the President,[1] the National Assembly domiciled most of the insertions in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (including quite a number of MDAs under it) as 1,125 and 1,522 projects were identified as insertions into the budgets of the ministry and its agencies in 2021 and 2022 respectively. For proper context, the cumulative monetary value of insertions into the budget of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in 2021 was N122.6bn—which is 58.08% of the total capital expenditure envelope of the ministry and the other 45 departments, agencies and parastatals under it”, The Organisation stated further.

     

    “By the same token, 1,522 projects with a cumulative cost of N186.61bn (86.44% of the total capital expenditure envelope of FMARD) were inserted into the 2022 budget of FMARD. As depicted in table 1, key allocations to projects and programs of FMARD in 2022, which are essential to achieving the ministerial mandate and strategic goal of the National Development Plan (aimed at reducing food security and reducing poverty), were drastically reduced to create fiscal space for the National Assembly’s insertions. Specifically, the budget line that addresses agric extension service support was cut by N1.06bn (40.15% of the proposed allocation)”, pointed out BudgIT.

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