Rule Of Law Collective Deplores The 2014 Budget As Wasteful, Shortsighted And Extravagant

Published:20 Jan, 2014

 

 

1.The Rule of Law Collective is a civic platform comprising Nigerians from all walks of life who through debate, discourse and civic action seek to advance public service and accountable governance in Nigeria through the fair, non-discriminatory, and effective application of laws.

2. On December 19, 2014, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance laid the budget proposal for 2014 before the National Assembly on the basis of the authority duly delegated to her by President Goodluck Jonathan pursuant to Section 81 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

BUDGETARY STRATEGY & PRIORITIES

3.The budget proposal as presented contemplates estimated aggregate expenditure for the fiscal year in the sum of N4.6 Trillion. This figure comprises various expenditure components including, but not limited to, a recurrent (non-debt) expenditure  component in the total sum of  N 2.4 Trillion and a capital expenditure component in the total sum of N1.1 Trillion. The balance appears spilt between debt servicing of N.7Trillion and statutory transfer of N.4Trillion.

4. Whilst the Rule of Law Collective has no specific grouse with the total aggregate amount provided for expenditure in the budget, the Rule of Law Collective considers it imprudent and unwise that the total capital component of the budget is a mere 23.7% of aggregate total expenditure whilst the recurrent component of the budget is 76.3% of the aggregate total expenditure.  We believe that such a disparity skews the budget towards consumption at the expense of infrastructural investment.

5. Unfortunately, the absence of sufficient prudence or wisdom in the formulation of the budget does not end with the macro level distortion between capital and recurrent expenditure. Further analysis of specific items in the budget reveals that even at the micro level, the formulators and originators of some of the line items in the budget have surrendered the nation’s treasure to the dictates of waste and profligacy.

6. The Rule of Law Collective has identified particularly egregious elements in some of the line items in the budget. For illustrative purposes, selected estimates in the provisions for  healthcare are highlighted below:

(A)Construction of a VIP Wing at the State House Clinic: N705 Million

(B) Total Capital Budget for Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital: N328 Million

(C)          Total capital budget for University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital: N310 Million

(D) Total Capital Budget for NOMA Children Hospital, Sokoto: N 89 M

(E)Total capital budget for The Institute of Child Health, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City: Nil

It is clear from the foregoing that to the formulators of the budget, the VIP Wing at the State House clinic is superior in terms of cost, priority and efficient allocation of resources to 2 teaching hospitals, a National Children’s Hospital and a Paediatric Research Institute combined. The Rule of Law Collective rejects such a formulation. To spend a disproportionate amount of our national resources on an already suitably kitted and exclusively resourced clinic which serves a tiny fraction of Nigerians at the State House is to say the least unnecessarily wasteful. The waste is more disconcerting if set against the negative reality that the VIPs who ordinarily would use the VIP wing at the clinic tend to or are known to travel abroad for the treatment of the slightest of ailments. We are therefore constrained to question the true motive and rationale behind this item in the budget as well as the rationale for allocating no money at all to the Institute of Child Health in Benin City. How can such a deliberate disregard of our children be justified or explained?

 

DEFENCE & NATIONAL SECURITY

7. The Rule of Law Collective is of the view that the Nigerian Armed Forces need to be sufficiently motivated and resourced to fulfil their mandate under the constitution. Our service men and women are  extensively engaged in providing aid to civil authority and are in a frontline role in the fight against insurgency and terrorism. It is understandable therefore that Nigerians expect the budget for the armed forces to reflect the current reality. Instead, the budget proposal rewards banditry and encourages militancy at the expense of the fighting men and women of the Nigerian military.

Set forth below are comparative figures from various elements of the budget associated with defense and national security:

(A)Stipends and Allowances to 30,000 Niger Delta Militants under the Presidential Amnesty Programme: N23.6 Billion (twenty three billion, six hundred million Naira)

(B)Reintegration of Transformed Ex Militants: N35.4 Billion (Thirty Five Billion, Four Hundred Million Naira)

(C)Total Capital Budget for the Nigerian Army: N4.8 Billion (Four Billion, Eight Hundred Million Naira)

(D)Total Capital Budget for the Ministry of Defence Headquarters, Army, Navy and Air Force: N34.2 billion (Thirty Four Billion, Two Hundred Million Naira)

(E) Total capital budget for ALL Police formations and commands: N6 Billion (Six Billion Naira)

The Rule of Law Collective finds it incomprehensible that the stipends and allowances for 30,000 militants exceeds by more than double the cost of providing facilities and procuring kit and equipment as well as weapons and ammunition for the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force combined.

 

RE-CONSTRUCTION OF NORTH-EASTERN NIGERIA

More worrisome is that the cost of reintegrating ex-Niger Delta militants exceeds the combined capital expenditure of the three service arms of the Nigerian Armed Forces.  It is entirely unconscionable that whilst multilateral donors are deploying significant resources to address malnutrition, food shortage and capacity building in the North East geopolitical zone of the country, the formulators of our budget have provided a paltry N2 Billion to rebuild the North East where damage to property and lives remains inestimable.

 

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BUDGETS

8. The Rule of Law Collective further views with utmost concern the allocations made to certain public institutions, departments and committees. As in the previous examples above, the overriding theme of these allocations is the absence of sufficient logic or deep thought in the budgeting process. Again, by way of illustration we have picked a few line items below:

(A) National Assembly:

(i) 150,000,000,000 (One Hundred and Fifty Billion Naira); and

(ii) 100,000,000,000 (One Hundred Billion Naira) for Constituency Projects.

(B)Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF):

(i) Capital Budget for the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (on a stand-alone basis and excluding agencies under supervision): N6.3 Billion (Six Billion, Three Hundred Million) of which N2.1 Billion Naira is allocated to the rehabilitation and repair of the SGF’s new office building.

(ii)  Monetized (cash) Benefit to Gen Oladipo Diya: N200 million.

(C)Presidential Committee on Rehabilitation of Barracks: N1.8 billion (One Billion Eight Hundred Million Naira).

(D)Repair and Rehabilitation of Barracks for the Presidential Air Fleet personnel: N706 Million

(E)Capital Expenditure for the Presidential Air Fleet: N3.2 billion (Three Billion Two Hundred Million Naira)

(F)Foreign and Local Trips by the President and Vice President: N2.4 billion (Two Billion Four Hundred Million Naira).

(G)Total sum of provisions for wildlife and horses at the Presidential Villa: N53 Million.

The Rule of Law Collective finds it unjustifiable that the Presidential Air Fleet budget is approximately half of the budget for the entire Nigerian Air Force; we find it objectionable that the budget to rehabilitate barracks for personnel of the presidential air fleet is more than a third of the cost of rehabilitating all military barracks in the country and we find it reprehensible that over N53 Million of taxpayers’ money would be spent on keeping horses and wildlife at the Presidential Villa.

A country like Nigeria with its negative developmental indices cannot fritter away resources that are best conserved for national development. It is an affront to the sensibilities of the teeming poor in our country when a budget that smacks of profligacy and utter waste is tabled before the National Assembly to be passed into law in their name.

It is no longer in contention that low human capacity development and the lack of opportunities for young Nigerians under the age of 25 are major factors in the rise of terrorism, ethno sectarian killings, kidnapping and other violent ills that confront our frayed society.

This budget and the 1,820 pages in which it was written, in all likelihood, will go down in history as one of the worst budgets ever proposed. It represents a complete detachment from reality. It is a shame that this budget proposal was tabled under the watch of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. So much more was expected of her and it is disappointing that she has let this budget proposal proceed under her hand. The ultimate responsibility, though, must lie with President Goodluck Jonathan.

CAPTURE OF NATIONAL BUDGET BY ‘VIPs’

The Rule of Law Collective is deeply concerned that the National Assembly which ought to protect the interest of the larger Nigerian public appears to have become a witting or unwitting party to this bizarre budgetary bazaar. Nigerians will be hard pressed to see the justification behind the allocation of N250 Billion to the affairs of the National Assembly comprised of 109 Senators and 360 Representatives. On a per capita basis the cost of maintaining and servicing each member of the National Assembly stands in excess of N530 Million per member. This is beyond the pale in a country where one out of five children born today will die before their 5th birthday.

The Government has a responsibility to the people of Nigeria to promote the common good of all its citizens, especially the poor, the unemployed, its men and women in uniform as well as its children. A fair budget should seek to eliminate reckless fiscal planning and wasteful spending. Such a budget must adequately address education and healthcare for all citizens and address the short term and long term concerns around our national security. Regrettably, the 2014 budget proposal does not meet these threshold requirements.

We call on the National Assembly to thoroughly scrutinize the 2014 budgetary proposals and make appropriate adjustments before passing same into the 2014 Appropriation Act. Anything less will smack of condonation and collusion with an executive branch that, if based on this budget, is determined to lead Nigeria nowhere.

CONCLUSION

In this regard,

1. Sectoral allocation must reflect a focus on developmental expenditure – health, education, beneficial and forward looking infrastructure like economically critical roads and railways, enhancing power supply as well as agriculture and rural development;

2. The capital component of the budget must be increased to no less than 70% in line with the Finance Minister’s earlier commitment;

3. We hereby reject all white elephant projects, including but not limited to the new presidential jet & associated barracks, state house clinic expansion, rehabilitation of the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government to pick only a few.

4. When compared with the N12 billion budget for the State House (President, VP and their Staff) and N33 billion full budget for the Presidency, the lack of appreciation and regard for the critical role of the judiciary in national development is manifest in the meagre and inadequate sum of N68 billion Naira) budgeted as statutory transfer to the Judiciary for ALL costs (salaries, overhead, court maintenance etc).

The Rule of Law Collective thus rejects the 2014 budget in its comprehensive entirety.

Dated this 20th Day of January 2014

Rule of Law Collective

Contact: Ikeazor Akaraiwe

ikeazor@gmail.com

Ruleoflaw-nigeria@yahoogroups.com

ENDS/

Sources:

Para 6A : See page 7 of the 2014 FGN Budget Proposal as annexed to the 2014 Appropriation Bill (hereinafter referred to as the “FGN Proposal”)

Para 6B:  See page 1608 of the FGN Proposal

Para 6C: See page 1610 of the FGN Proposal

Para 6D: See page 1755 of the FGN Proposal

Para 6E: See page 1742 of the FGN Proposal

Para 7A: See Page 5 of Part C to the Schedule of the 2014 Appropriation Bill

Para 7B: Supra

Para 7C: See page 44 of the FGN Proposal

Para 7D: See page 38 of the FGN Proposal

Para 7E: See page 474 of the FGN Proposal

Para 8A: (i) See page 2 of Part A to the Schedule of the 2014 Appropriation Bill

(ii) See page 36 of the FGN Proposal

Para 8B: (i) See page 429 of the FGN Proposal

(ii) See page 432 of the FGN Proposal

Para 8C: See page 68 of the FGN Proposal

Para 8D: See page 418 of the FGN Proposal

Para 8E: See page 419 of the FGN Proposal

Para 8F: See page 9 of the FGN Proposal

Para 8G: See pages 6 – 7 of the FGN Proposal

  • Lai Abode

    What are this people saying? Did they listen to the finance minister’s speech today where she did a breakdown of the budget?

  • waziri abba ismail

    Frm mere point of view GEJ has no feelings for the masses & pretends to v no sympathy or whatsoever towards d masses’s woes he inflicted on em @ d moment! The budget is as gud as promotin millitancy & weakenin of the entire security agencies & personal compared to what is normally seen allocated in other projected countries of the world! GEJ administration is a failed one as well as his Nigerian project…,

Related Posts

Recent Posts

BREAKING: One day to go, Jammeh declares 90 days state of emergency in Gambia

A day before the official end of his tenure, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has declared a 90-day state of emergency, Gambian State television has announced. The terms for the state of emergency are not known as the announcement did not provide further details. Mr. Jammeh made the declaration as Nigeria reportedly deployed a warship to the coast of the country to put pressure on the long term leader to vacate office and hand over to President-elect Adama Barrow. Mr. Barrow was to...

Nigerian government confirms negotiation with Boko Haram to free Chibok girls

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday reassured that the negotiations for the release of other Chibok girls in captivity were ongoing. The minister disclosed this at the Air Force Base in Yola in a briefing to conclude a day and night rounds of search sortie of the missing girls to Sambisa. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr. Mohammed; the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Alli; the convener of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group, Obiageli...

We’ll use entertainment to increase Lagos GDP – Ambode

The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Tuesday revealed the plans of his administration to leverage on the vast economic opportunities in entertainment, tourism and arts sectors, among others to grow the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, of the state and promote talents in the state to compete globally. Speaking at Lagos House, Ikeja when he received artistes who performed at the One Lagos Fiesta, OLF, who were on a thank-you-visit, Governor Ambode said the creative industry remained a veritable platform...

Nigerian Army to give N500,000 reward for information on suicide bombers

The Nigerian Army says it is offering N500,000 reward for credible information that leads to the arrest of would-be suicide bombers or their hideouts. The Army spokesperson, Sani Usman, disclosed this via a press statement on Tuesday. The army had about three years ago promised a N50 million reward for any information that would lead to the arrest of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau. Mr. Usman, a brigadier general, said the army is worried by the disturbing proportion of suicide bombings in...

Retirees sue Nigerian military for non-payment of allowance

Retired military officers on Tuesday dragged the Army, Navy and Air Force to court over non-payment of debarment allowance instituted in 2012. The retirees instituted a class action against the forces at the National Industrial Court Abuja, claiming they were yet to access the funds since 2012. The debarment allowance is a lump sum to be paid to all retirees, made up of 10 per cent of their total emolument per annum, multiplied by the number of years served. The essence of...

Lagos to install 13,000 CCTVs for emergency response

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Tuesday said it would install 13,000 Closed Circuit Television cameras at major flashpoints across the state to boost its operations. According to a statement issued by Adebayo Kehinde, LASEMA’s head of Public Affairs Unit, the move is part of efforts by the state government to improve the impact of emergency and disaster management in the state through effective and efficient response system. The government also plans to step up a Monitoring and Surveillance Unit...

272 touts, thieves, others prosecuted in Lagos Airport in 2016 – Police

The Police Command, Lagos Airport, says that no fewer than 272 persons were prosecuted for various offences at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, between January and December 2016.   The spokesperson of the command, Joseph Alabi, told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Lagos on Tuesday that the command also made 417 arrests within the period under review.   Mr. Alabi said that some of the suspects were charged with assault, stealing, obtaining by false pretences as well as unlawful entry and...

Nigeria Immigration Service redeploys 207 officials

The Comptroller-General of Immigration, Muhammad Babandede, recently approved the redeployment of 207 senior officers of the Service between the ranks of Assistant Comptrollers General, ACG, to Assistant Comptrollers, AC. Those affected include ACG Ezekiel Kaura who now heads the ICT Department which is considered the engine room for the e-solution programme of the NIS; Chizoba Dibi who has been promoted to ACG and posted to Zone ‘G’ in Benin as Zonal Coordinator; Hamman Yerima from Delta State Command to the...

Jigawa village head, brother kidnapped

Kidnappers have abducted Garba Mamud, the village head of Rijin in Basirka District of Gwaram Local Government Area of Jigawa.   Dauda Mamuda, the brother to the district head, who is a ward head, was also kidnapped by the suspects, said to be about 30.   A resident of the community, Musa Ibrahim, told the News...

Runway will take 2 years to fix if airport remains open, 6 weeks if closed – Julius Berger

The Managing Director, Julius Berger, Mr Wolfgang Goetsch, has said that the runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, could be fixed without closing down the airport. However, the company said the work would take more than two years. Goetsch made this known in his submission before the Senate on Tuesday at the plenary. According to him, the runway can be repaired without closing the airport but is dependent on the scale of the repair. He said that if there...

Nigeria is not the first country to close an airport for repairs, says Fashola

Babatunde Fashola, minister of works, power and housing, wants those opposed to the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport, Abuja, to know that Nigeria is not the first country to close an airport. The decision of the federal government to shut the airport for six weeks over repairs on the runway has been met with stiff resistance in some quarters. At the senate on Tuesday, Fashola said there was no other option but to close the airport, but Otis Anyaeji, president...

135 boys rescued from human traffickers in Jos

Operatives of Operation Safe Haven, a special task force outfit in Plateau state, have rescued 135 children from human traffickers in Jos, the state capital.   According to Channels TV, the children, who are all male and within the age range of four to eight years, were rescued from two trucks headed to Plateau, Kaduna and Nassarawa.   “On Thursday January 12, the special task force, sector 2 located opposite University of Jos, intercepted two trucks conveying 145 children from Bauchi and...

“Engine cleaner healed, delivered my church members” – South African Pastor

Theo Bongani Maseko, a South African pastor, has joined the league of religious leaders who carry out deliverance through unconventional means.   Maseko, a pastor at Breath of Christ Ministry, makes use of engine cleaning fluid to “cast out disease and devils”.   “What I am holding now with my hand, is the fullness of Christ in this bottle. With this bottle you can empty HIV wards. You can cast out any disease and devils. By looking at this bottle you are now free!...

Windows 7 now outdated for businesses – Microsoft

Microsoft Germany is encouraging business users to make the switch to a newer version of the operating system, claiming Windows 7 is no longer “fit” to be used in businesses.   Windows 7 “does not meet the requirements of modern technology, nor the high security requirements of IT departments”, said Markus Nitschke, head of Windows at Microsoft Germany.   Microsoft has warned that the Windows 7 operating system is outdated and more susceptible to malware attacks that wouldn’t affect Windows 10.   “It provides for...

IPOB to rally in solidarity with US President-elect, Donald Trump on inauguration day

The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has warned that, “heaven will fall” should President Muhammadu Buhari order soldiers to interrupt its Friday’s rally in solidarity of the United States, President-elect, Donald Trump. In a statement by its spokesperson, Emma Powerful, the group explained that the rally was aimed at making the world understand how “resolute and committed we are towards the emancipation, realisation and proclamation of our God given right to live as free men and women in our ancestral...

Supo Dosunmu, show promoter who gave D’banj and Don Jazzy their big break has died

Supo Dosunmu a popular US show promoter, CEO of Unique promotions and son of late Senator Wahab Dosunmu is dead. Supo died on Monday, January 16, 2017 in the United States.   Before his death, Supo (in black) was quite popular in the Nigerian Music Scene and he was a respected and popular show promoter in United States who took Dbanj and Don Jazzy on their first major tour US several years back.

Ayade’s Exemption of Low Income Earners From Taxes : Illusion or Reality? – By Inyali Peter

Lucius Annaeus Seneca said "A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer". For the intention of Governor Ben Ayade to exempt low income earners from taxes, I say kudos to the governor. It only takes a leader with courage to harbour such intentions amidst the lean financial position of the state. Cross River state receives almost the smallest allocation from the federal government. Over the past few years, what...

“No police officer has the right to check your mobile phone” – Lagos Police PRO

The Lagos State Police PRO, Dolapo Badmus has reiterated the fact that no police officer has the constitutional right to search any citizen's phones. She made this statement in a YouTube video interview. In her own words, "Your phone is private, it's your private property because people do a lot of private stuffs on their mobile phones so it's wrong. Police officers have no right to do that except there is a reasonable ground to do so". She further went on...

Kogi Staff Verification Exercise: Corruption is fighting back – Bello

Kogi State Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello, has said his government is poised to implement the recommendations of the Staff Verification Committee to further deepen his drive towards a disciplined and efficient civil service in the state. Speaking through his Director General on Media and Strategy, Evangelist Kingsley Fanwo, at an interactive forum organized by a civil society Group, Equity Forum in Lokoja, the Governor said he expects corruption to fight back  as starling revelations have exposed the rot...

TRAGEDY: Another UNIOSUN Student Killed In Osogbo

A 300-level student of the department of Civil Engineering at the Osun State University, Osogbo identified as Kazeem Amodu Ige has been killed in a fight that erupted among some students of the institution on Monday evening. Channels TV correspondent gathered from some students who spoke on condition of anonymity that Kazeem was allegedly stabbed in the chest by a 400-level student of the department of Physics Electronics of the same university, Yusuf Adekunle, also known as Stone. The pandemonium broke...

Reps To Investigate 500m Naira Fund For Chibok Secondary School

The House of Representatives is to investigate why the Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state has not being reconstructed despite 500 million naira being earmarked for the project in the 2016 budget.   This resolution followed a motion sponsored by Rep Raphael Igbokwe who reminded the House that the former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had flagged off the reconstruction project.   Lawmakers wondered if the funds have been diverted and called for a proper investigation to be done in the matter.   The...