How House of Reps padded 2016 budget


Nigeria House of Representative pictures

Abdul Jibrin, the sacked chairman of the House of Representatives committee on appropriation had said the Speaker allowed 10 committee chairmen to insert projects worth N284 billion in the budget.

Top officials of the National assembly padded the 2016 budget to the tune of N481billion.Documents have revealed it. According to Vanguard newspaper, the national assembly also unilaterally jerked the votes meant for constituency projects from N60 billion to N100 billion.

lawmakers removed some key projects proposed by the executive or drastically reduced their costs and introduced many others not contemplated by the Presidency which prepared the budget.

The Presidency, which reviewed the budget, said: “A large number of these projects are outside the mandate of the relevant Ministry (e.g. the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Works, Power & Housing); or statutorily outside the FGN’s mandate (like intra-city and state road projects); or cannot be implemented as there are no designs or costings made for them.

Accordly to Source, most project that was increase in the budget without the knowledge of presidency were, Nigerian railway modernization project: Lagos – Kano standard gauge rail line project, which cost was raised by N32.5 billion and the consultancy dredging and river training works (N609 million) under the Ministry of Transportation.

The Code of Conduct Bureau which had N4.4billion added to its vote, provision of broadband Internet Service to National Assembly by Nigcomsat, N318 million, Training and Consultancy for Nigcomsat 2 Project, N3.5 billion etc, in the Ministry of Communications. Most scandalous, according to the document, is the case of Ministry of Works, Power and Housing where 82 new projects, principally roads, with a total provision of about N50.63 billion, were inserted in the budget.

Also MDAs’ projects were increased significantly without due consultations on implementation capacity,the project has relationship with MDA’s were introduced and simply cannot be implemented. Among these are the construction of town halls, township street lights, procurement of transformers and tricycles under the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and the building of classrooms under the Ministry of Agriculture etc.”

“The aggregate expenditure as contained in the budget details as passed, is higher than that in the Appropriation Bill by about N481 billion, compared to the Appropriation Bill. “The executive made provision for the sum of N60 billion to be used by members of the National Assembly in funding their constituency projects. This was increased by the National Assembly to N100 billion.

The Presidency  proposal of N4.06 billion for the provision for test kits, vaccines and anti-retroviral drugs under the Federal Ministry of Health was reduced to N1.01 billion.

“Due to cost reduction, there shall be vaccines stock-out by October 2016 and, among other things, the gains of polio eradication will be lost, and the government will be hampered in the battle against HIV. “Very large cuts have been made to proposals for many important projects in several MDAs and the sums applied to fund hundreds of new projects.

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