Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
A civil society group, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), has identified some inappropriate expenditures in the 2019 Budget, saying the nation would save over N74.175 billion if its overheads are reviewed.
In a statement, the Lead Director of the group, Mr Eze Onyekpere, said the N4,360,392.146 budgeted for annual routine maintenance of mechanical/electrical installations in the Villa should be reduced by 50 per cent.
He also argued that the State House perpetually gets votes for rehabilitations and repairs of buildings every year on fixed assets that do not deterioriate annually. He added that in 2018 Budget, the State House also got N5,426,045,185 for rehabilitation and building repairs even as the sum of N456,270,741 earmarked for the purchase of security and operational vehicles ought to be slashed by half because the sum of N653, 611,104 was provided for it in the 2018 Budget.
As for the sum of N72,000,000 for the purchase of two Toyota Camry project vehicles for NIPSS, Kuru, Onyekpere proposed that the brand name of the car should be deleted from the budget because according to the Public Procurement Act, any vehicle bought with public funds should be locally-made or assembled.
“The 2019 Budget Call Circular states: “MDAs are also enjoined to desist from the practice of specifying models/brands of assets they propose to acquire in the budget. As much as possible, generic specification of items should be made in accordance with the Public Procurement Act”. The car to be bought with public funds should be a locally-made or assembled car unless the specification sought is not locally available.
In these circumstances, there are local equivalents such as Innoson or Peugeot – See the Presidential Executive Order on Support for Local Content in Public Procurement. Finally, it appears that the price stated for two cars is outrageous and above the market price of the cars” Onyekpere, observed, adding that if some of the recommendations are considered, the Federal Government would save over N74.175 billion,.
“Following the presentation of the 2019 Appropriation Bill by the President to the National Assembly, CSJ/CWP studied the budget proposals and pulled out expenditure line items it considered frivolous, inappropriate, unclear and wasteful. The pull-out was validated at the Civil Society Summit on the Budget. It was published and distributed to members of the National Assembly, the media, civil society and key offices in the executive. It served as an advocacy tool to engage the National Assembly in the approval of the 2019 federal budget.