Despite assurances by the current administration that it would not tolerate budget padding, there are indications that the 2017 budget proposal currently being debated by the National Assembly has been padded by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
A document obtained by newsmen indicates that the 2017 budget may have been padded more than the 2016 version. Already, heads of the MDAs have commenced defence of their projections before the various committees of the National Assembly.
According to the document, prepared by BudgIT, a non-governmental organisation, many MDAs inflated their proposals in all the line items, even as it accused them of allocating high sums of money to frivolous and suspicious projects.
According to the 39 page document, the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation proposed N22.2 million for electricity charges, a figure it said is 75.9 per cent increase over the previous year.
The same office, the document indicated, wants N222, 602,652 million and N120, 304, 830 million for local and international travels respectively. These represent 61.5 per cent and 5.9 per cent increase over 2016.
For the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), despite having only one court room, BudgIT said the body asked for N500 million for the digitalisation and automation of its operations. The amount is aside N11.4 million and N22 million it penciled for operation of two departments and operation of its six zonal offices.
The Council for Legal Education is proposing N12,480,000 million for cleaning and fumigation of its offices. According to the document, the amount is indefensible.
In the same vein, the document faulted the sum of N295 million being proposed by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development for Information Technology automation and web maintenance.
The Ministry of Justice, on its part, budgeted N101,658,614 million for purchase of office stationery and computer consumables. Curiously, an exact allocation was made for the same purpose in the 2016 budget.
The Federal Ministry of Water Resources, in the 2017 budget, earmarked N350,314,000 million for budget preparation, coordination and quarterly production of budget reports.
Federal Fire Service, an agency under the Federal Ministry of Interior, is budgeting N3,898,966,196 billion for purchase of fire fighting equipment. The same figure was budgeted for the same purpose in the 2016 budget.
The Presidential Villa is budgeting N319, 625, 753 million for payment of electricity charges. According to the document, there is an increase of over 600 per cent in one year.
About N76, 400, 004million is being budgeted for water rates. There is also an increase of 308.01 per cent within one year.
The same Presidential Villa is expected to spend N52, 827million on sewage charges and N8, 539, 200million on anti-corruption.
The document revealed that the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has budgeted N669, 397, 062million for the dualisation of Mayfair Junction along Ibadan Road. It claimed that the portion of the road had been dualised.
The Nigerian Air Force is budgeting N1, 893, 758, 693 billion for payment of electricity charges. There is an increase of 3, 779 per cent from what was budgeted in 2016.