Across Nigeria Corruption Matters

Budget padding: A scandal meriting EFCC’s probe

There can hardly be any reasonable assertion that some serious fight against corruption is taking place in the country without evidence of the searchlight beaming on the activities of the National Assembly members. This belief is central to the resolve of the anti-graft agencies to subject to further scrutiny the various sums of money appropriated for the funding of their so-called constituency projects.
It has been confirmed that the National Assembly members, while passing the budget, appropriated about N900 billion between 2004 and 2014, at the rate of N100 billion a year, purportedly for the funding of constituency projects in their localities. Projects such as village primary school renovation, siting of health centres and digging of boreholes that should ordinarily fall within the purview of local or state governments are pushed into the national budget.
The manner in which some of these projects are smuggled in during the process of budget passage often leaves much to be desired. Projects are sometimes listed without any feasibility studies, nor is consideration given to the availability of funds for their execution. Quite often, this has been the source of conflict between the Executive arm of government and the legislators. While the former would complain that the padded budgets were not implementable, the latter would insist on full implementation, wielding, menacingly, the weapon of impeachment.


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