Tracka, BudgIT’s community engagement and service delivery promotion arm, has launched its 2021 Constituency Project Report titled “Using Advocacy to Build Citizens’ Capacity for Improved Governance”. The report reviews Tracka’s work and documents the findings from 5,242 government projects tracked across 31 states in Nigeria between June 2021 and July 2022. Of these projects, 3,043 have been completed, 775 are ongoing, 1,248 have not started, 176 are abandoned, and 2,366 projects were with unspecified locations.
Key findings in the report reveal critical issues with project execution in Nigeria, including the diversion of projects for personal use, the use of empowerment projects as a reward system for political party members, non-execution of projects, incapability of assigned agencies to execute projects, the obscurity of budgetary provisions, use of substandard materials, the hijacking of federal capital projects implementation by lawmakers, poor maintenance of projects, among others.
In extreme situations, elected representatives have diverted public funds for political and personal purposes. For example, in Taraba state, N200 million earmarked for the procurement of vehicles for constituents was converted into personal use by Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, a senator representing Taraba South Senatorial district, while in Sokoto, Bala Kokani, a lawmaker representing Kebbe/Tambuwal federal constituency, locked up empowerment items (motorcycles, sewing and grinding machines, bags of fertilizer) worth over N40 million in his permanent residence, that was meant to be distributed to his constituents.
In Osun state, N50 million empowerment project implemented by the National Directorate for Employment was turned into an open All Progressives Congress fiasco.
Tracka discovered that elected representatives and political parties are leveraging empowerment projects to strengthen their base from government coffers rather than improve citizens’ lives, especially as the 2023 general elections draw near.
According to Uadamen Ilevbaoje, Head of Tracka, there is a scourge of anomalies in the 2021 projects implementation, including the reappearance of 2020 budget line items as new items in the 2021 budget and the duplication of empowerment projects in the Zonal Intervention Project ZIP and ERGPs. “We observed that some of the projects captured in the ZIPs were also captured in ERGP projects with different amounts budgeted for them. This creates a funnel for embezzlement and mismanagement of funds, as funds will be released twice for the same project but implemented once.” Ilevbaoje added.
Tracka, in its report, highlighted recommendations tailored to every stakeholder involved that can effectively tackle the problems of open contracting, standardised platforms for public procurement, effective budget monitoring, citizen engagement, and proper budgeting with relevant information, among others.
We call on elected officials, executive bodies, and stakeholders who have a crucial role in nation-building to ensure that resources are effectively allocated and channelled towards improving service delivery in Nigeria. Tracka also urges citizens, media and the CSOs to leverage information in this report to demand improved service delivery from their elected officials.