Saturday, May 15, 2021

BudgIT uncovers N39.5bn projects scam in Buhari’s cabinet

BudgIT, a civic-tech non-profit organisation leading the advocacy for transparency and accountability in public finance in Nigeria, has uncovered a N39.5 billion projects scam in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led cabinet.

The scammed money was the totality of 316 duplicated projects in the 2021 budget.

Also amongst other loopholes of corruption, in a statement shared by BudgIT, is zero audit records of the N10.02 trillion received by the security sector between 2015 and 2021.

The statement read partly: “2021 has been a horrifying year for Nigerians concerning security as the country combats mutating forms of crime and terror across all its 36 states; this is despite allocating over N10.02 trillion to security between 2015 and 2021.

“In the 2021 budget, the entire security sector’s allocation was N1.97 trillion, representing a 14 percent increase from the N1.78 trillion allocated in 2020.”

Increased resources allocated to the security sector means that less money is available to develop other sectors; thus, there is a need for more scrutiny of how these allocations are budgeted and spent.

Likewise, BudgIT’s publication also stated that various non-security-related government agencies now request and receive allocations for “Security Votes”, an opaque feature of the Nigerian security ecosystem devoid of accountability.

In the 2021 budget, 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.

Furthermore, BudgIT observed that the little budgetary allocation provided to other sectors is plagued with various loopholes for leakages and theft of public funds.

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