The Nigerian budgetary process over the years has remained a source of controversy. More than fifty years after independence our budgets have never really served as a guideline for innovation and nation building. From budgets of transformation, budgets of development to budgets of consolidation and other amorphous names, it all entails a process of copy and paste as they contains the same information with little or nothing to add or remove.
And to show how lazy the government is when it comes to budgetary preparation, some projects that have been completed and commissioned find their way into the successive budgets, in the same vein some projects that have been concessioned to private companies still get budgetary allocations.
A careful perusal of the 2017 budget which is expected to run till May 2018 shows many discrepancies that made one to wonder the seriousness that goes into the yearly budgetary ritual of the Federal government as majority of items budgeted are not explained. For example, the word “computer printer” appeared in most ministry proposals with various amount allocated to it as follows, 2.6m, 6.6m, 2m, 2.4m, 2.1m, 800,000 among others.
The prices which could have been justified by stating the name and model of the printers were missing, also the same computer printers existed in the 2016 budget proposal, the question is why do we budget for printers annually, do Nigerian printers expires in a year?
This same discrepancies has found its way into the 2018 budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly. After the Federal government has spent a whooping sum of 280 million Naira as car allowances for former Presidents and their Vice in the year 2017, government has concluded plans to spend another 186 million Naira on cars for former Presidents and their vice presidents in the year 2018. Apart from the fact that this has shown the flaws in our budgetary process, it’s coming at a time suffering and hardship has heightened in Nigeria.
How can we build when we keep haemorrhaging money through our budgets? How?