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Review 2015 budget – Group urges Buhari

By on June 16, 2015

The Centre for Social Justice has called on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to embark on the review of the 2015 federal budget in line with current economic realities, because the the fiscal document, in its present form, cannot address the challenges facing the economy.

The Lead Director, CENSOJ, Mr. Eze Onyekpere, in a document analysing the budget, stated that it contained allocations for expenditures, which he described as frivolous.

In the document, which was made available to our correspondent on Sunday in Abuja, Onyekpere said many of the expenditure heads contained in the fiscal document were unknown to the constitution and should, therefore, be removed.

The Senate had passed the 2015 budget on April 28, following the passage of the Appropriation Bill by the House of Representatives on April 23, with an expenditure outlay of N4.493tn, up from the N4.425tn proposed by the Executive.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan had signed the bill into law a few days before he handed over power to Buhari.

But Eze faulted the template usually sent to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government, noting that this was responsible for the bloated expenditure.

“The 2015 Federal budget as passed by the National Assembly is not the budget of change that Nigerians have been waiting for. It needs to be reengineered, restructured and overhauled. A dire economic situation needs some adjustments and reforms, or else, the country will not just stagnate, it will enter the reverse gear,” he said.

He lamented that despite efforts made by the group to point out the frivolous and inappropriate expenditure profile, the National Assembly was “insistent on continuing the waste.”

Eze said, “We still had a lot of votes for welfare packages after the salary, remuneration and perks of office. This is an expenditure head unknown to our law. Many agencies still got outrageous sums for refreshment and catering services as if they are running a restaurant chain. It made no sense as it was wasteful.

“It seemed like the budget preparation template was uniform and sent to all the MDAs that had to ask for things they needed and those they did not need just to ensure that the template was completely filled. Otherwise, how do you justify MDAs that have no need for uniform requesting and getting approval for one?”

Onyekpere called on the new administration to plug leakages in the system, enhance the performance of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and recover funds due to the treasury.

He said the new administration should ensure that fresh borrowing would only be done in accordance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act and subject to a cost-benefit analysis, reasonable interest rate and long period of amortisation.