The Minister of Finance and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed has dismissed allegations of budget padding by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs. She disclosed that in the spirit of transparency under President Buhari's administration, her office has taken measures to make the process more open only that the allegation under scrutiny was wrongly captured in the said budget.
Recall, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management has raised the alarm that N206, 242,395,000 were inserted into her budget which they were not aware of.
However, special Adviser to the Minister on Media and Communication, Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, relayed in a statement that was made available to newsmen that contrary to speculations, the fund in question was wrongly captured into the Ministry’s estimate which was transmitted to the National Assembly.
The statement partly reads; “The project so referred to is domiciled in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development headquarters. The World Bank is the funding source for the National Social Safety Net-Scale Up project to the tune of $473,500,000 which is equivalent to N206,242,395,000, using the N435.57/USD exchange rate.
“The project was correctly described in the submission from the International Economic Relations Department (IERD) for the 2023 budget. But, unfortunately, the wrong code was selected from the drop-down menu which resulted in a wrong description of the project which resulted in it being captured as ‘Purchase of Security Equipment’ in the Government Integrated Financial Management Information (GIFMIS) Budget Preparation System (BPS).
He explained that “Please, note that the BPS has a limited range of encoded program/project descriptions. Also note that the multilateral loans are usually project-tied, and have specific codes in the budget system. The multilateral loans are different from the envelopes usually given to ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs).
“The funds are drawn by the beneficiary ministries under the terms of the agreements, and the financial institutions disburse directly to service providers.
“There were ample opportunities to review details for observations by ministries and corrections made by the Budget Office of the Federation (BOF),” the statement added.
Abdullahi further stated that the budget for 2023 belonging to each ministry was circulated for review and feedback before the Federal Executive Council, FEC review and was later forwarded to the National Assembly.
On procurement of Harris RF-5/7800 military communication equipment by the Ministry of Defence, it explained that the president had approved 50 percent of the requirement for phases 2 & 3 (using the exchange rate of N435.57/USD), which translates to N8,600,000,000 and had been included in the 2023 budget.
Meanwhile, for the 2023 Multilateral/Bilateral Tied-Loan project for the Ministry of Power, the ministry said the four projects total USD448,757,149, which is N195, 465,151,790 and would be funded by the World Bank, AfDB, and Export-Import Bank of China.