Freda Okhiria, Abuja
The Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze has denied allegations that a hooping some of N250million was provided in the 2017 budget proposal for the construction of the Gate-house in the Vice President’s quarters.
Akabueze stated this in a media briefing which had the presence of Civil Society Group held in Abuja.
Denouncing the report he said, “we have observed some reportage on the provisions in the The budget which are nonexistent. Some of these include the claim that N250million was provided for the construction of the Gate-house in the Vice president’s quarters, N3.8bn for state house clinic, N400,237 in federal government college garki budget repeated 20 times, and N1,278,682 in Federal Government College, Iket Nose, repeated eight times. These items and provisions are not in the 2017 Budget proposal.”
Also addressing the padding of the 2017 budget that had raised some controversies he said, “Some have also alleged that ‘padding’ is back in 2017 budget. I can say without equivocation that there is no padding in the 2017 budget proposal. The process of preparing the 2017 budget required MDAs to uploaded their budgets online by their accredited officers, who were issued access codes to ensure an audit trail of all entries. The chief executive/or cchief accounting officers of all MDAs were requires to certify their final budget inputs. The budget presented to the national assembly by Mr president was exactly whta the MDAs certified.”
Further explanations he noted that there were claims that the provision for Annual Budget Expenses and administration appeared multiple times in the budget of different MDAs. “It is important to note that there are over 800 MDAs which must make provisions for expenses related to the budget exercise. For instance, in the education sector, we have over 200 patastals including federal Universities, College of Education and Unity Colleges. These must participate in annual budget preparation activities like the medium term sector strategies, MTSS, and training on the use of budget process/software applications. The ammount provided by these agencies is a reasonable cost to ensure that the budget is prepared with minimal errors.”. He said.
He also said N5.41bn cost of preparing budget rumoured were lies. He said, ” someone simply aggregated the Budget Office, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the provisions made by respective MDAs for budget preparation and administration, and described the total of N5.41bn as cost of preparing the Budget. This is not correct, and reflects lack of appreciation of the full scope of responsibilities of the Budget Office and its parent ministry of Budget and national planning. “
“Some have queried the description of some projects in the budget as well as repetition of these projects. This is not a defect. The departure from increment budget to zero-based budget requires that project costed at activity level. For instance, the Zungeru hydropoer projects was coated at the rent sub-activitiea level comprising: (I) infrastructure, basic amenities, compensation, consultancy and supervision, among others.” He said.