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2018 Budget: group raises the alarm on suspicious items

A budget monitoring advocacy organization, BudgiT has raised the alarm over certain items listed in the 2018 proposed Appropriation Bill which it described as suspicious and needed explanation to avoid the repeated experience of “budget padding.”

The 2018 budget is currently being considered by the National Assembly and the group on Wednesday highlighted certain grey areas in the budget. These include N22.6 billion allocated for the purpose of Research and Development and N19.3 billion for Export Expansion Grant in the budget of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

Also in the list is an entry of N10 billion for Settlement of Liabilities in MDGs, SDGs and Direct Mandate Projects in the proposition of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and another N4 billion earmarked for Building Maintenance Works for Other MDAs in Abuja.

In the proposed budget of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, a question was raised on the allocation of N5.5 billion for the project titled: Support for Infrastructure, Projects, and Coordination Services.

A total sum of about N3.65 billion was traced to security issues with BudgiT querying the Directorate of State Security Service, for allocating N2.21 billion to Social Media Minning Suite, the allocation of N1.14 billion by the Office of the National Security Adviser to Cleaning and Fumigation Services and N308.42 million allocated under the Police Formation and Command Headquarter sub-heading for Procurement of Riot Control Equipment

A sum of N4.9 billion meant for Annual Routine Maintenance of Mechanical/ Electrical Installation of the Villa was queried in the State House Headquarters budget.

It questioned the rationale behind the N338 million budgeted by the Ministry of Finance for acquisition of Computer software.

Tunde Opalana, Abuja

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