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Nigeria may lose over N150b to profligacy in 2020 budget, says group

Faults agric, other ministries on deliverables

Nigeria stands to lose N150,077,928,399 to wasteful ventures in the 2020 appropriation bill, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has said. Lead consultant of the centre, Eze Onyekpere, said the 2020 budget that is at the National Assembly for consideration duplicated a lot of projects under different names, while some proposals had nothing to do with the ministry, department or agency under which they were proposed.

Speaking yesterday at the annual review of the federal appropriation bill conducted by the centre in Abuja, Onyekpere expressed the centre’s intent to raise public awareness over wasteful estimates, arguing that the federal budget should reflect value for tax-payers’ money.

Onyekpere called on the National Assembly not to pass the bill in a hurry without critical examination.His words, “Every item in the expenditure of the federal budget should reflect the best value for money. Best value in terms of being a priority expenditure that would contribute to the reduction of poverty, job creation, and contribute to increased value addition and revenue generation for the country.”

The group also faulted the expenditures of the federal ministries of agriculture, works and housing as well as the Niger Delta, saying that many of their expenses had no clear deliverables. They instead use margins like capacity building, empowerment, skills acquisition, upgrading and others but no contextual description, he added.

Other ministries like water resources were criticised for having too many projects that could not be accommodated in the budget, thereby spreading the funds and making very little impact on Nigerians.

According to a document presented by CSJ for the Citizens Wealth Platform, Fidelis Onyejegbu of the centre noted that the 2020 appropriation tagged ‘Budget of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation’ could save more than N150 billion from the total estimate of N10.33 trillion.

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