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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

BudgIT says Senator Ningi was right on unallocated N3.7 trn in Nigeria’s 2024 budget

Budgit says Senator Ningi was right on unallocated N3.7 trn in Nigeria’s 2024 budget

The co-founder of a civic group, Budgit, Seun Onigbinde, has said Senator Abdul Ningi’s claim that there were no detailed project allocations for about N3.7 trillion of the N28.78 trillion 2024 budget was true.

Onigbinde stated this in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday.

He, however, said the claim by Senator Ningi that Nigeria was running two concurrent budgets wasn’t factual.

READ ALSO: BUDGET PADDING: APC, PDP, others call for probe as northern senators disown Ningi 

The co-founder said, “There should be a detailed breakdown of the budget. On that point, Senator Ningi is right but to say that we are running two parallel budgets, I don’t think that is factual.”

Ningi resigned as chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum after his suspension in the Senate on Tuesday over budget padding allegations.

Onigbinde said, “As the Senate rowdy session was going on, we were also fact-checking, and one of the things we found out is that…“A budget of N28.7trn was passed into law and we were not able to see where N3.7trn (was missing).

READ ALSO: Senator Ningi gets Gudaji Kazaure treatment, insists N3.7trn not traceable to projects

“Historically, there are items in the budget that don’t have breakdown like statutory transfers but that does not mean there is a certain level of capital projects by the federal government that was appropriated and do not have breakdowns.”

He said the entire capital project was around N9 trillion in the 2024 Appropriation Act signed into law by President Bola Tinubu after the bill was reviewed upward from N27.5 trillion to N28.78 trillion.

“The budget we have now has the ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) and the government-owned enterprise budget,” Onigbinde stated.

READ ALSO: Presidency counters Senator Ningi, denies ‘underground’ 2024 budget

“Around N2trn of the budget presented by the President is the government-owned enterprises budget. So, if Senator Ningi says there is a N25trn budget, yes, that is the MDA’s budget. It’s different from the government-owned enterprises budget whose budget was now added.

“It is factual that he says that but it doesn’t mean that we are running two concurrent budgets. There is a different conversation that those projects should be detailed. TETFUND should not just get an allocation.

“What are you spending money on? INEC is collecting huge chunk of funds but there are no public details about what the funds are used for.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Senate suspends whistle-blowing lawmaker without investigating allegation

“In the current budget, the National Assembly gave a very broad summary of its allocations, but they are no detailed allocations on a granular level that everybody can understand.

“These are transparent issues, and if you put all these together, that is around N3.5 trillion to N3.7 trillion. So, if that is what he (Ningi) wants to interrogate, that there are components of the budget where there are no breakdowns, that is very factual.”

Faruk Khalil
Faruk Khalilhttps://nigeriansketch.com/
Khalil Faruk (Deputy Editor-in-Chief), has a Bachelors and Master's degree in Political Science and has worked as a reporter, features editor and Deputy Editor-in-Chief respectively in a leading Nigerian daily. He has undergone trainings in journalism, photo journalism and online journalism within and outside Nigeria.

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