Buhari’s 2022 budget laced with fake items to defraud Nigerians – Melaye
NEWS DIGEST – A civil rights movement under the aegis of Anti-Corruption Network on Thursday has picked holes in the 2022 budget which, it alleged, was “laced with fake items” running into billions of naira to allegedly “defraud the citizens”.
According to a report by Punch Newspaper, the organisation also condemned the Presidency and Federal Inland Revenue Service Commission’s proposed budgets for 2022, describing them as a monumental fraud.
The Executive Secretary of ACN and former chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory in the 8th National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaye, made the observations during a press conference in Abuja.
According to him, the current budgeting system in Nigeria is “a monumental national disgrace.”
It will be recalled that in October, President Muhammadu Buhari presented a budget proposal of N16.39 trillion for the year 2022 to the Joint Session of the National Assembly.
But Melaye said that over 60 per cent of corruption issues in Nigeria were built and legalised in the budget.
He said that with Nigeria’s annual budgets laced with fake items running into billions of naira, budget fraud would be nothing but the real foundation of all corrupt practices in the country.
Melaye, who represented Kogi West Senatorial District, made reference to the 2022 budget and wondered why the FIRS budget which stood at N228 billion would surpass the budget of the National Assembly pegged at N134 billion and N120 billion proposed for the judiciary.
He claimed that the FIRS budget also surpassed the current 2021 budgets of Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara states.
He said, “In the FIRS 2022 budget proposal, the tax body earmarked N2.5bn for the purchase of land, N3bn for office furniture, N1.5bn for photocopying machines, N2.04bn for computers and N500m for the construction of sports facilities. The agency set aside N1bn for generator fuel and N250m for maintenance while a separate N550m was set aside for purchasing more generators.
“How on earth can the FIRS budget sum of N2.8bn for “uniforms and clothing” for the year 2022 and in defence, the FIRS Chairman through his Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Johannes Wojuola, had the guts to say that the word “uniform” is the corporate outfit (dressing allowance) to be enjoyed by all the staff…”
“Is it the Presidency? The Presidency proposed budget for 2022 stands at N150.5bn and the sum of 24.8bn was budgeted for the President. It was budgeted that the President will spend the sum of N775.6m for his local travel and transport while the sum of N1.5bn will be spent on International travel and transport (No wonder Mr. President is travelling up and down).
“The 2022 budget of the Vice President stands at N1.1bn. The Vice President is to spend the sum of 301.9m for his local travel and transport while the sum of N476.2m will be spent on International travel and transport. N6.3m will be spent on office stationeries/computer consumables, the sum of N4.6m will be spent on printing non-security documents.
“The Vice President foodstuff/catering material supplies stand at N156.6m. Miscellaneous is N99.7m, Refreshment & Meals is earmarked 20.2m while Honorarium & sitting allowance is N30.2m. The Vice President is to spend N18.8m on publicity and advertisement, N23.2m on welfare packages, and N5.4m on sporting activities.”
Melaye described as “most unfortunate”, the fact that the nation’s collective wealth had been consistently looted under the guise of budget padding which, he said, now calls for serious scrutiny.