National Assembly Inserted 7,447 Projects Worth N2 Trillion In 2024 Budget

A civic-tech non-profit organisation, BudgIT,  has accused the National Assembly of inserting 7,447 constituency projects worth N2.24 trillion in the 2024 project.

The organisation said this in a report released on Wednesday in its reaction to the allegation of budget padding made by the suspended Senator Abdul Ningi representing Bauchi Central.

In its report, BudgIT said most of the projects inserted into the budget by the National Assembly are of personal interests and have no national significance.

According to the organisation, a breakdown of the 2024 budget shows that N25.4 trillion was earmarked for Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MSAs).

It said the N3.32 trillion allocation earmarked for government-owned enterprises (GOEs), the national assembly, the National Judicial Commission (NJC), the Public Complaints Commission (PCC), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), was excluded from the budget passed and published.

The report reads: “However, our findings show that a budget breakdown totalling N25.4tn was provided for the budgets of the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) and some other agencies receiving a statutory allocation from the federal government.

“The comprehensive budget breakdown of government-owned enterprises, the National Assembly, the National Judicial Commission, the Public Complaints Commission, INEC, and TETFUND totalling N3.32tn was excluded from the budget that was passed and published.

“This does not mean the country operates two separate budgets and that there’s only one final budget known to us.

In the report, the organisation said the 10th National Assembly continued the “ugly trend” of indiscriminate insertion of projects in the budget.

BudgIT said the members of the national assembly target some agencies and organisations for the insertion of projects.

The organisation said the federal ministry of agriculture and food security has the highest number of inserted projects, with 2,470 projects worth N632.31 billion.

It added: “A total of 7,447 projects culminating in N2.24tn were inserted in the 2024 budget by the National Assembly, an ugly trend that was accelerated in the 9th National Assembly.

“Fifty-five of the projects range with a value of N580.7bn are greater than N5bn in value. We also noticed that 281 projects worth N491bn, and 3,706 projects within the range of N100–500m, worth 759bn, as inserted into the budget.

“The National Assembly has indiscriminately added projects to the budget, with most projects having no national significance but narrowed to personal interests.”

Recall that Senator Ningi stirred controversy when he alleged during an interview last Saturday that the 2024 budget was padded by N3 trillion and that the country is operating two budgets concurrently.

During plenary on Tuesday, the allegations were debated on the floor of the Red Chamber, amid a rowdy session.

Subsequently, the Bauchi senator was suspended for three months from all legislative duties over the allegations.

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