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BudgIT: Agencies allocated N112bn projects outside their mandate in 2023 budget

BudgIT, a civic-tech non-profit organisation, says projects worth over N112 billion in the 2023 budget were allocated to agencies outside their mandate.

Oladayo Olufowose, the acting communications associate at BudgIT, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

On January 3, 2023, ex-president Muhammadu Buhari signed the N21.83 trillion 2023 appropriation bill into law.

In the statement, BudgIT, through its service delivery promotion platform, Tracka, said it uncovered these infractions in the 2023 approved budget.

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“Our analysis also discovered that over 687 projects worth N112billion were allocated to agencies outside their mandate,” the statement reads.

“The Nigerian Army was allocated N4.5 billion for the construction of Dengi-Kwalmiya-Gagdi-Wawus Bauchi Road in Plateau state, Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research was assigned N1.2 billion across four projects to supply medical equipment to health centers in Ogun state, and N580 million was allocated to National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, to construct roads and streetlights in Abia state, amongst many others.”

Ayomide Ladipo, acting head of Tracka expressed her displeasure over the development.

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He said the implications of assigning projects to agencies out of their mandate is that “it undermines monitoring, evaluation, and the sustainability of these projects”.

“These agencies lack the expertise and personnel to ensure quality service delivery of these projects, leading to projects under-delivery and a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money and scarce resources.

“An example is the News Agency of Nigeria which was allocated N200 million to construct solar streetlights in Rivers state. What business does NAN have with streetlights?”

According to Tracka, there is a 21 percent reduction in the percentage of empowerment projects in 2023 compared to last year.

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A total of N58 billion out of N100 billion was allocated to empowerment projects in 2022, while N37 billion out of N100 billion was earmarked for the same purpose in the budget 2023.

N81.7BN FOR STREETLIGHTS HIGHER THAN ALLOCATION FOR SCHOOLS, PHCs

Tracka also discovered that a total of N81.7 billion was allocated to the construction of solar streetlights in the 2023 federal capital and constituency projects.

This, according to the organisation, is higher than the total allocation to schools and primary health centers, which gulp N77.9 billion and N3.1 billion, respectively, in the budget.

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“In 2022, a UNESCO report tagged Nigeria’s out-of-school children figure at 20 million, a staggering 52 percent increase from the 10.5 million reported by UNICEF in 2020,” the statement reads.

“Nigeria’s child mortality rate is the second-highest in the world, and maternal mortality is at 576 per 100,000 live births, the fourth-highest in the world.

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“In a country plagued with these critical issues, dwindling revenue, and a failing economy, the bogus allocation to streetlights is a gross misplacement of priority.

“Nigeria is also presently littered with non-functional and vandalised streetlights that have stopped working less than two years after their construction.”

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