Ningi Was Right, No Detailed Project Allocations For N3.7trn – Onigbinde

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The Co-Founder of civic group Budgit, Seun Onigbinde, has said that Senator Abdul Ningi was right that there was no detailed project allocations for about N3.7trn of the N28.78trn 2024 Appropriation Act.

Onigbinde, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Tuesday, however, said claim by the Bauchi Central Senator that Nigeria was running two concurrent budgets wasn’t factual.

“There should be a detailed breakdown of the budget. On that point, Senator Ningi is right but to say that we are running two parallel budgets, I don’t think that is factual,” he said.

Ningi, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) resigned as Chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum, even as he was suspended by his colleagues in the red chamber on Tuesday over budget padding allegations.

Onigbinde said as the rowdy session by Senate was ongoing, the Budgit team fact-checked claims by Ningi.

He said, “As the Senate rowdy session was going on, we were also fact-checking and one of the things we found out is that we were not able to lay hold to the claim by Senator Ningi. A budget of N28.7trn was passed into law and we were not able to see where N3.7trn (was missing).

“Historically, there are items in the budget that don’t have breakdown like statutory transfers but that does not means there is a certain level of capital projects by the Federal Government that was appropriated and does not have a breakdown.”

He said the entire capital project was around N9trn in the 2024 Appropriation Act signed into law by President Bola Tinubu after the bill was reviewed upward from N27.5trn to N28.78trn.

“The budget we have now have the ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) and the government-owned enterprise budget,” Onigbinde stated.

“Around N2trn of the budget presented by the President is the government-owned enterprises budget. So, if Senator Ningi says there is a N25trn budget, yes, that is the MDA’s budget. It’s different from the government-owned enterprises budget whose budget was now added.

“It is factual that he says that but it doesn’t mean that we are running two concurrent budgets. There is a different conversation that those projects should be detailed. TETFUND should not just get an allocation. What are you spending money on? INEC is collecting huge chunk of funds but there is no public details about what the funds are used for.

“In the current budget, the National Assembly gave a very broad summary of its allocations but they are no detailed allocations on a granular level that everybody can understand.

“These are transparent issues and if you put all these together, that is around N3.5trn to N3.7trn. So, if that is what he (Ningi) wants to interrogate, that there are component of the budget where there are no breakdown, that is very factual.”

The Budgit boss urged the executive and the National Assembly to ensure transparency in the budgetary allocations to MDA and government-owned enterprises.

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