Nigeria’s Budget Fraud Demands Investigation

In December 2015, the President of Nigeria presented the first annual budget of the administration. He explained to the senators that due to the fall in oil prices, government spending will be reduced.

“We are determined to ensure that our resources are managed prudently and utilized solely for the public good.

“To set the proper tone, one of our early decisions was the adoption of a zero based budgeting approach, which ensures that resources are aligned with government’s priorities and allocated efficiently,” the president said.

However, recently during a breakdown of the 2016 budget, it was disclosed that the budget allegedly contains fraudulent padding of allocations such as; allocations of fees for the president’s rent at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, acquirement of books worth millions of nairas that are not so acquired in Nigeria’s educational institutions, 140 million naira for a borehole, 1.4 billion Naira houseboats for officers, and also numerous repetitions with different allocations.

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Ministries have denied authoring the project, the Ministry of Health blamed it on rats while a top government official blamed it on a “budget mafia”. Regardless, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered investigations to be carried out. He blamed the civil servants for the disparities and ambiguities.

An administration official who pled to remain anonymous told the Premium Times;

“The presidency has ordered the immediate investigation of all the allegations and issues, particularly on padding, raised by the National Assembly on various ministries, departments and agencies of government.

“The investigative panel is expected to critically look into the budget item-by-item, incident-by-incident, with particular attention to the reactions from the National Assembly, ministries, media, civil society groups or indeed anybody that raised concerns regarding the padding of the budget.

“All corrections would be made to ensure that the budget was passed as soon as possible. I assure you government is working cautiously on the corrections with the intention of correcting any error or malfeasance spotted in the 2016 Appropriation Bill. If there is any error whatsoever, it is being sorted out straight away.”

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