…Compels 326 Contractors to Return to Site …As BudgetIT Discovers 460 Duplicated Projects in 2022 FG Budget Beating its chest about the successes of its anti-corruption move, the Federal Government has said that the Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), tracked 2,000 projects worth over N300 billion, between 2019 and 2021, through
…Compels 326 Contractors to Return to Site
…As BudgetIT Discovers 460 Duplicated Projects in 2022 FG Budget
Beating its chest about the successes of its anti-corruption move, the Federal Government has said that the Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), tracked 2,000 projects worth over N300 billion, between 2019 and 2021, through its Constituency and Executive Projects Tracking Initiative.
This is coming amid claims by a leading anti-corruption group, BudgetIT that it discovered 460 duplicated projects amounting to N378.9 billion, in the FG 2022 budget.
Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed who disclosed this, in Abuja, while briefing the media on the giant strides of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration in the anti-corruption fight, said during the same period, 326 contractors, who abandoned projects across the six geo-political zones, were forced by the Commission to return to site, to complete projects worth N32.183 billion.
He said that the ICPC’s Assets Tracing, Recovery and Management (ATRM) project also led to the recovery of cash totalling N34.346 billion and US$1.62 million between 2019 and 2021.
The minister said the Commission’s System Study and Review of personnel and capital votes of MDAs resulted in savings of N261 billion to the government during the same period.
He disclosed that the ICPC had also secured 66 convictions from the 243 cases it filed in court, during the same three-year period.
Mohammed said that the ICPC had played a pivotal role in bringing about structural changes in the operations of the government.
As part of this, the anti-graft body had helped in improving the MDAs’ budget utilization, ensuring better value for money, improved project completion, service delivery and higher level of anti-corruption awareness.
Meanwhile, BudgetIT has urged the Federal Government, National Assembly and civil society organisations to amend and eliminate about 460 duplicated projects inserted in the 2022 budget.
This comes as the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning assured that the Federal Government will not spend money on any project that is duplicated in the budget.
BudgIT said its preliminary analysis of the 21,108 capital projects in the 2022 approved budget revealed 460 duplicated projects amounting to N378.9billion.
In the 2021 budget, BudgIT observed 316 duplicated projects inserted into the 2021 FG Budget approved by NASS, while ICPC verified 257 duplications, and the Budget Office confirmed the existence of only 185 duplicated projects worth N20.13 billion.
Speaking of projects approved under MDAs that cannot execute them, the National Agency For Great Green Wall, which was set up to prevent land degradation and desertification afflicting 11 states in northern Nigeria, and to boost food security in the country has N1.3 billion or 64 percent of its capital budget dedicated to purchasing motorcycles, street lights and other projects outside its mandate.
The organization said four recreational parks under the Ministry of Environment, have a total allocation of N67.8million to construct “Gun Armouries” in Cross Rivers, Kaduna, Borno and Yobe States, even though the Ministry of Environment is not a security agency. This raises the question – Why is the Ministry of Environment stashing guns in recreational parks in these states in an election campaign year and at a time when the country is facing unrest in nearly all of the 36 states?
“Nigeria is currently battling double-digit inflation, one of the worst 20 out of 196 countries in the world marked by soaring prices of food, consumer goods, and other services.
“Unfortunately, the River Basin Development Authorities (RBDA), under the Ministry of Water Resources, which was set up to facilitate the management of water resources for agriculture that would end the tide of food supply fluctuations, has instead metamorphosed into an agency that constructs roads and supplies street lights.
“A cumulative total of N6.3billion was allocated to supplying street lights in 73 communities across the 36 states, while N14.8 billion was allocated for the construction of 219 roads across 36 states; whereas the majority of the roads are the responsibilities of State and Local governments and not the Federal Government,” it stated.
According to BudgIT’s Country Director, Mr Gabriel Okeowo, the loopholes for fraud in the 2022 FG budget is a crime against the 86 million Nigerians living below the poverty line, an injustice to hardworking taxpayers and an open mockery of countries and lending institutions that intend to borrow Nigeria N6.29trillion in 2022.
BudgIT hinted that it is currently finalising its detailed analysis of the approved FG 2022 budget, which would be presented to all stakeholders in the executive and legislative arm of government as well as the citizens.
It called on the government to prioritise projects that are of utmost benefit and exercise discipline in implementing duplicated and poorly costed projects in the 2022 budget.
It also enjoined Nigerians, CSOs, the private sector, the international community, and reformers to join the call for urgent redress of the issues to ensure public funds work for all Nigerians and not for a privileged few politicians.
In his response to the ‘findings’, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, who spoke through her Special Adviser, Media and Communications, Mr Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi said while the ministry is not aware of project duplications, she explained that mistakes cannot be ruled out in a voluminous document like the budget.
The Special Adviser assured that such duplications would be removed during the process of implementation.
He added: “I am not sure of the ‘alleged’ duplications but if there were duplications, they are not intentional and not impossible to have some few cases. But, that is always sorted anyway in the course of reviews and implementation. It’s a big document so you can understand the pressure to put it together.
“The government won’t provide double resources for the same project. That is for sure, the Hon Minister won’t do that. So, no cause for alarm.”