Our Budget Process Repetitive, Lacks Creativity, Says Ojudu

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The lawmaker representing Ekiti Central in the Senate, Babafemi Ojudu have said that there are no more creativity in our budgeting process in Nigeria adding that the process goes on year in year out without any thinking going into it.

At Tuesday’s plenary, Ojudu explained to his colleagues that after receiving his copy of the budget, he compared it with those of 2012 and 2013 only to discover that there is no marked difference between the 2014 budget and the two previous budget.

According to Ojudu, the Budget Office of the Federal Ministry of Finance copied the two previous budget word for word without making any alteration.

“There are no more creativity in the budgeting process and the process goes on year in year out without any thinking going into it.

“Our budgets unlike when we use to have development plans are no longer targeted at solving problems confronting the nation but lining the pockets of government officials.

“Nigeria stopped having development plans according to him in 1986. Progressively since then the nations budget has emphasized more recurrent expenditure which is easy to release and manipulate for personal purposes by civil servants,” Ojudu added.

The senator alleged that there may be fraud in the 2014 budget adding that just as the two previous budgets, recurrent allocation for computer software acquisition, local and foreign travels, welfare package, local and foreign training run into billions.

Senator Ojudu gave an example of the allocation for computer software which is put at N10 billion. According to the 2014 budget, all ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government have allocation for computer software acquisition of at least N10 million each, the highest being N580 million for the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

This allocation is no different from that of 2012 and 2013, according to the senator.

Another example cited by the lawmaker is the allocation for Research and Development which cuts across all ministries, departments and agencies, including those with no research departments. 

The R & D allocation is put at N45 billion.

“These are not universities or research agencies. What are they researching? It is this wasteful budgeting that has shot up the recurrent expenditure to 75%. It is incumbent on us as lawmakers if we are truly for the people to remove all avenues of wastes from this year’s budget. If we fail to do so, we would not have justified the reason for electing us into the Senate,” Ojudu argued.

Many Nigerians have condemned the 2014 budget since its details were made public, but in spite of the widespread condemnation that greeted and continues to greet the budget, the Jonathan administration seems adamant to stick to its gun as the president has urged the National Assembly to ensure its speedy passage. 

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