‘2022 Budget loaded with wasteful, frivolous items worth N227.1 bn’

…experts say removal of fuel subsidy will save Nigeria N2trn

The 2022 Budget is loaded with frivolous and wasteful estimates in the region of N227.1 billion, Citizens Wealth Platform (CWP), a platform of non-governmental and faith-based organisations claimed on Thursday in Abuja.
Knowledgeable in economy and rudiments of budget, CWP also said removal of fuel subsidy by government will save Nigeria N2 trillion.
Analyzing some of the items contained in the 2022 Budget and amount of funds allocated to them, the group said most of the items were frivolous, wasteful noting that they had been repeatedly captured in previous budgets.
Briefing the media yesterday in Abuja on 2022 Budget, CWP Coordinator and Director, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) Barrister Eze Onyekpere noted that, the 2022 Budget like ones before it was loaded with lots of frivolous and unclear wasteful expenditure.
Areas of wasteful allocation pointed by Onyekepre include, provision of over N260 billion service wide votes for special intervention and poverty reduction which he described as worrisome.
He said over the years there has not been evidence of benefits to the population accruing from the votes.
“But the authorities insist on continuing a practice without visible benefits. Several programmes in many MDAs have received multi-year funding for skill acquisition and employment creation. It’s imperative to demand for reports of achievements in terms of output and outcomes and the value for statement of previous investments,” he said.
He cited example of 12 River Basin Development Authorities which sit on thousands of acres of public land, yet to be allocated the sum of N50 million for clearing of 5,000-hectare farmland in Auchi, Edo state by the Benin Owena RBDA.
“From the time of former President Olusegun Obasanjo till date, we have been seeing items being used as slush funds in the budget,” he said.
Onyekpere also frowned at the Federal Government’s plan to borrow N126.925 billion for the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) project. He wondered why the Federal Government should borrow so much for the scheme when a majority of Nigerians have not got the card 10 years after their identities had been captured.
He said that the 2022 Appropriation Act should contain an explicit provision abolishing fuel subsidies, under-recovery or any subsidy on petroleum motor spirit by whatever name called or under any guise whatsoever.
This, he noted, will save the nation not less than N2 trillion and make same available for the Federation Account.
The lead director also picked holes on the N2.915 billion revenue expected from the minerals and mining sector, saying that it is grossly underestimated.
The National Assembly, he said, should engage the mining authorities and the Ministry of Finance to ensure that illegal and private mining of public minerals are stopped and proper accruing revenue estimated included in the budget.




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