BudglT highlights corruption loopholes in the
budget process, calls for urgent budget reforms.
BudglT, a civic-tech non-profit organisation leading the advocacy for transparency and accountability in public finance in Nigeria, has called on the government to audit security spending and close loopholes for Corruption in the budget process.
While speaking on BudglT’s recent publication, “Demanding Budget Reforms for Resource Optimization”, Gabriel Okeowo, BudglT’s CEO, said, “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.
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, BudglT’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. 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.
Furthermore, BudglT observed that the little budgetary allocation provided to other sectors are plagued with various loopholes for leakages and theft of public funds.
“Our investigations into the 2021 budget revealed at least 316 duplicated capital projects woth N39.5bn, with 115 of those duplicate projects occurring in the Ministry of Health. This is very di’sturbing especially considering the health
infrastructure deficit and the raging COVID-19 pandemic affecting Nigeria.”
“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, while the Federal College of Forestry in lbadan in Oyo State got N50m for the construction of street lights in Edo State.”
These are aberrations that need to be corrected.
Mr Okeowo enjoined the Federal Government to urgently block all loopholes in the budget creation and implementation process, some of which are highlighted in the recently released publication.
“Nigeria is already haunted by a staggering N3.31tn debt servicing burden which will wipe out nearly 41.63% of the projected N7.99tn 2021 revenue.
The Federal Government can maximise the little public funds left by blocking the leakages BudglT has identified.” Okeowo added. Nigeria’s budget can be an excellent tool to accelerate economic recovery, but if the budget is left with the current loopholes, it can cover corruption and grand theft.
The Nigerian government already plans to borrow N4.69tn
to meet its expenditure needs in 2021; thus, it cannot afford to allow these borrowed funds to be stolen by a few corrupt elite through loopholes in the budget. Virement provided in the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, or the opportunity for Corrigenda recently provided in Section 16 of the 2021 Appropriation Act Implementation Guidelines published by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning in March 2021 are handy starting tools the government can immediately use in plugging loopholes.
I will leave no stone unturned to better the life of my people, RT. Hon. Momoh Jimoh Lawal
A Peoples Democratic Party, PDP chieftain and former speaker of kogi state house of assembly, Rt.
Hon. Momoh Jimoh Lawal is a well grounded grassroots mobilizer of the PDP in kogi state and he is known for his philanthropy across the senatorial district. Recently, some students of Government Day Secondary School, Iruvucheba had approached him to solicit for his support to help renovate a classroom to enable the WAEC candidates sit for their exams giving the dilapidated and poor conditions of their classrooms.
The kogi central political icon after receiving the call took it up on himself to erect four (4) blocks of classrooms and two (2) office buildings to enable the students sit for their examinations.
In a quiet ceremony, Rt. Hon. MJ Lawal handed over the newly completed buildings to the principal of the school, Mall. Ohiare J.Z
While speaking at the handing over ceremony, Hon. MJ Lawal noted that education is the bedrock of any society seeking the path of progress and development. He equally stated that he’d never leave any stone unturned to see that he better the life of his people especially in the areas of education and empowerment.
Recall that some months ago, Hon. MJ Lawal had built, commissioned and handed over some block of classrooms and learning materials to Lennon memorial college, Ageva.
For the political icon, RT. Hon. MJ Lawal, giving back to the society is a mandate he can never go against.
Kano Hisbah sacks official found in hotel room with married woman
The Kano State Hisbah Board, in its effort to ensure transparency as well as guide against immortality, has sacked a top official allegedly found with a married woman in a hotel room in Sabon Gari area of the state.
The Hisbah Public Relations Officer, Lawal Fagge, confirmed the sacking of the official
It will be recalled early in the year, an official of the command (name withheld) was allegedly found in a questionable manner with the married woman.
The report gathered that the decision taken on Tuesday followed a report by a committee set up by the board to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident.
It was, however, discovered that before the incident, the official was said to be at the forefront of arresting prostitutes and other wayward girls.
Ministry vows to go after Nigerians involved in ‘ghost marriages’
The Federal Ministry of Interior has warned that ”ghost marriages” are illegal and any Federal Registrar found to have violated the law with regards to registration of marriages, shall be punished.
A ”ghost marriage”, is a marriage in which one or both parties are deceased.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Director of Citizenship and Business Department, Mrs Moremi Soyinka-Onijala, on Wednesday in response to speculations that marriage certificates were being obtained from the federal registries, in the absence of intending couples.
Responding on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Soyinka-Onijala explained that it is absolutely compulsory for intending couples to be present before any marriage can be registered or certificates issued.
Citing some provisions of the Marriage Act, she said that sections 44 provides that “whoever impersonates any other person in marriage, or marries under a false name or description, with intent to deceive the other party to the marriage, shall be liable to imprisonment for five years”
It is an important requirement for intending couples to be physically present at any Registry (Federal or not) or at any Licensed Public Place of Worship in order to be married under the provisions of the Marriage Act of 1990 Cap 218 LFN as amended.
“Ghost Marriages as they are called, are illegal and any marriages so conducted are rendered null and void ab initio,” she said
She noted that Section 42 provides that whoever witnesses as a marriage officer in the ceremony of marriage, knowing that he is not duly qualified to do so, or that any of the matters required by law for the validity of such marriage has not happened shall be liable to imprisonment for five years.
“If any Federal Registrar is found to have violated the law, he or she shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of the Marriage Act and the Public Service Rules,” she said
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