How Buhari approved 316 duplicated projects worth N39.5bn in 2021 budget


A Nigerian civic tech group BudgIT has released a report in which it claimed that the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari approved 316 duplicated projects in the 2021 budget.

The report explained how the Nigerian Government agencies have billions of naira reportedly earmarked as security votes – a fund usually given to state governments by the government to equip the security arms.

The Lagos-based firm disclosed this in a statement issued by its Communications Associate, Iyanu Fatoba, which was titled, “BudgIT highlights corruption loopholes in the budget process, calls for urgent budget reforms.”

The advocacy organization said, “Our investigations into the 2021 budget revealed at least 316 duplicated capital projects worth N39.5bn, with 115 of those duplicate projects occurring in the Ministry of Health.

“This is very disturbing especially considering the health infrastructure deficit and the raging COVID-19 pandemic affecting Nigeria.”

It added, “Even worse, agencies now receive allocations for capital projects they cannot execute. For example, the National Agriculture Seed Council has an allocation for N400m to construct solar street lights across all six geopolitical zones.

“The Federal College of Forestry in Ibadan in Oyo State got N50m for the construction of street lights in Edo State. These are aberrations that need to be corrected.”

BudgIT also called on the government to audit security spending and close loopholes for corruption in the budget process.

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The Chief Executive Officer of the firm, Gabriel Okeowo, was quoted as saying, “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 N10.02tn to security between 2015 and 2021. In the 2021 budget, the entire security sector’s allocation was N1.97tn, representing a 14 per cent increase from the N1.78tn allocated in 2020.”

The firm stated that increased resources allocated to the security sector meant that less money was available to develop other sectors.

It, therefore, noted that there was a need for more scrutiny of how these allocations were budgeted and spent.

BudgIT’s publication noted 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.

It stated that in the 2021 budget, a total of 117 federal agencies received allocations for security votes worth N24.3bn, despite many of these agencies already having allocations for security charges to cover each agency’s security needs.