2014 Budget: More Money For Militants Than Entire Defence

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Niger Delta Militants Get N54billion While Armed Forces, Police Get N46billion….

Former governor of Kwara State and senator representing Kwara Central, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has revealed that our budget process is fast becoming a mere procedural ritual to fulfil a legal condition rather than a scrutiny on efficient resource allocation and use for the welfare of our people. 

The senator who made the revelation on an analysis of the 2014 budget published on his personal website lamented the misplacement of priorities demonstrated in the allocation of N54Billion to Niger Delta Militants under the Presidential Amnesty Programme while the Military and Police combined got just N46Billion in capital allocations. 

He therefore asserted that the budget proposal rewards banditry and encourages militancy at the expense of the fighting men and women of the Nigerian military.

Saraki who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology further said the 2014 budget may be our last opportunity to redeem ourselves and correct our budget anomaly. He stressed that if we don’t seize the opportunity this time and put things right, soon it may begin to appear that National Assembly budget no longer matter. 

It should be remembered that Bukola Saraki is the arrow head and one of the 11 PDP senators who recently defected to the opposition, All Progressive Congress, APC.

He queried the proposal to purchase desktop computers for N2m each under the budget of the Ministry of Education, when the market prices to purchase a unit was N200,000. The Ministry of Works, he said, proposed to buy desktops at N1m per unit.

He said: “It is regrettable to note that our National Budget process, which should have a lot of development implications, is fast becoming a mere procedural ritual to fulfil a legal condition rather than a scrutiny on efficient resource allocation and use for the welfare of our people.

“Let’s be frank and admit that our budget process has been inadequate. And a lot of the failure of the budgets in the past cannot be completely ascribed to the executive alone. We too have a low pass mark on the budget ourselves, as we have not guarded our budget process effectively and have shielded away from vesting it with the right integrity assurance value it deserves. Today, we have a situation where even civil servants find no hesitation in abusing the provisions of the budget with impunity.

Saraki insisted that the budget has failed to give priority to critical sectors of the economy and has become a blueprint for fiscal recklessness and leakages in government expenditure.

He also noted the dangers of increased extra-budgetary spending and the impunity with which agencies, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, spent public funds and serial breaches of budget implementation rules by civil servants.

Saraki also drew attention to the fiscal recklessness and impunity in the Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation, NNPC which he described as “a parallel government”.

“Yes, it (NNPC) has become a parallel government. Otherwise how do you explain this- NNPC has openly told us that they had spent the missing $10bn (this is after questions were asked about unexplained shortfalls in remittances) of public revenue without appropriation? This is an amount far in excess of the national capital budget for the year 2014. No one would have known and NNPC would not have bothered to explain had there not been an enquiry over revenue shortfalls,” the senator added.

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