2021 Budget: SERAP demands probe into N39.5bn duplicated & mysterious projects

Amaka E. Nliam

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to probe into the reported 316 duplicated and mysterious projects worth N39.5bn in the 2021 Budget and prosecute those allegedly involved.

 

SERAP ( a Nigerian non-profit promoting socio-economic rights, transparency and accountability in Nigeria) seeks to know if public funds have been diverted in the guise of implementing the projects.

 

This demand is in response to the recent alarm raised by BudgITng, a Nigerian civic tech organization committed to  raising standards of transparency, citizen engagement and accountability, most especially in public finance.

 

In a press statement last week, @BudgITng  had revealed that there were 316 duplicated capital projects worth N39.5bn in the 2021 budget:

 

 “Our analysis of the #2021Budget reveals over 316 duplicated capital projects totalling N39.5bn, among other loopholes for corruption.  BudgITng also found ZERO audit records of the N10.02 trillion received by the security sector between 2015 & 2021,”  it said.

The duplicated and mysterious projects are contained in the 2021 appropriation bill of N13.588 trillion signed into law in December, 2020.

 

The letter sent by SERAP yesterday partly reads: “The misallocation of public funds for duplicated and mysterious projects has undermined the ability of the Nigerian Government to ensure respect for Nigerians’ rights through developing and implementing well-thought-out policies, plans and budgets.

 

“The projects may have been used as a ploy to steal vital resources from MDAs. Budget allocations and expenditure ought to be well-suited to ensure access of Nigerians to basic public services, and responsive to the people’s needs, to prevent corruption or wasteful spending.

 

“We would be grateful if the measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, appropriate legal actions shall be taken to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.

 

“…SERAP also urges you to direct Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, to publish full details of current ‘implementation status’ of the duplicated and mysterious projects, and any spending on the projects to date, including the 115 projects inserted in the budget of the Ministry of Health; the 23 projects inserted in the budget of the Ministry of Education, and 10 projects inserted in the budget of the Ministry of Water Resources.

 

“The following ministries are reportedly involved in the duplicated and mysterious projects: Ministry of Health with 115 projects; Ministry of Information and Culture with 40 projects; Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development with 25 projects; Ministry of Education with 23 projects; Ministry of Transportation with 17 projects; and Ministry of Science and Technology with 17 projects.

 

“Others are the Ministry of Environment with 13 projects; Ministry of Power with 11 projects; Ministry of Labour and Employment with 11 projects, and Ministry of Water Resources with 10 projects.”

 

SERAP is a non-partisan, legal and advocacy organization committed to promoting human rights, transparency and accountability in governance using training, advocacy, research and strategic litigation.

 

Amaka E. Nliam

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