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2022 budget: Billions of naira spent annually on state house a huge waste, says CSO

2022 budget: Billions of naira spent annually on state house a huge waste, says CSO
November 06
10:49 2021

The Centre for Social Justice (CENSOJ), a not-for-profit organisation, has asked the federal government to reduce the budget proposal for the presidency in the 2022 budget.

TheCable had reported that the federal government earmarked N150 billion for the presidency in the 2022 budget, including N135 million for meals and N2 billion for international trips.

Eze Onyekpere, executive director of CENSOJ, spoke at a media dialogue while presenting the organisation’s 2022 budget assessment.

Onyekpere said the Nigerian economy is fragile and government officials need to make a sacrifice by avoiding frivolous spending.

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“Nigeria is going through an economic and fiscal crisis where its retained revenue simply pays for debt service and the bulk of the resources required for personnel, overhead and capital expenditure is borrowed,” he said.

“The revenues are simply inadequate to fund fundamental expenditure, therefore, every available fund should be spent with the greatest value for money, tied to a high-level national policy framework and aimed at improving livelihoods, growing the economy, reducing poverty and inequality.

“It is against this background that the pullout of frivolous, inappropriate, unclear and wasteful expenditure calls the attention of the executive, legislature, private sector, civil society including the media to these frivolities at a time of grave national crisis.

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“According to the 2022 budget call circular, resources are to be allocated based on actual needs, in line with the immediate needs of the country as well as government’s developmental objectives and priorities. Starting from the presidency’s state house headquarters, the pullout calls on the leadership to lead by example.

“Spending billions of naira every year on routine maintenance of statehouse facilities is a huge waste. All statutory transfers are stated as lump-sum provisions without details. No person, government agency or organisation has the right in a constitutional democracy to spend public funds in a way and manner that is unknown to the ultimate sovereigns, being the taxpayers and citizens.

“There is no law authorising this kind of budgeting. It is unconstitutional, illegal, unethical, inappropriate. The details should be provided to Nigerians.”

CENSOJ also called on the national assembly to review its budget proposal by 25 percent to “free up resources for other important needs of the economy. This will amount to an allocation of N100.5billion and savings of N35.5bn”.

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Onyekpere said more funds should be allocated to the ministry of works and housing to facilitate the completion of abandoned infrastructural projects across the country.

“The meagre resources allocated to works and housing has been so thinly spread across hundreds of projects to the extent that money will be spent without any concrete improvements in the road or housing stock,” he said.

“In the interim, NASS should prune down the number of projects and focus on a few which can be improved upon from available resources, otherwise voting N100m, N200m to major road projects (even when prudently spent) will amount to a waste of resources.”

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