An non-governmental organisation (NGO), Social Action Nigeria has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take steps to demonstrate leadership by ending the culture of Budget impunity in Nigeria.
A statement by the Head, National Advocacy, Vivian Bellonwu Okafor said ‘budget padding’, “whatever that mean and in whatever form was an illegality, which has sadly become institutionalized in the nation’s budgeting through the actions of some corrupt or self-serving public officials.”
Obviously reacting to the President’s address at the signing of the year’s federal budget, Bellonwu-Okafor pointed out that “budget impunity is one fundamental vice that has greatly compromised development in the Country.
Right from budget proposals stage, largely by the executive arm of government, to the consideration stage by the legislature, the budget is usually rife with dubious allocations and appropriation that all see to it that budgets no longer make any meaningful positive impact on the lives of the Citizens.”
“It was indeed worrisome that the President, who ran on an Anti-corruption paradigm and had expressed clear knowledge of the
problem and willingness to tackle same, would in the face of such
infraction, only come out to merely raise lamentations without making
any known effort to deal with the problem and dismantle this vicious
cycle and culture beyond alluding to an intention to do another
(supplementary) budget,” the statement read.
Social Action noted that that the recourse to a supplementary budget was far from being a desirable solution to the problem, while observing that “supplementary budget would still went to the same set of people enmeshed in these illegalities and invariably end up the same way of the former.
“These ‘paddings’ as against the false and misleading claims of the
perpetrators, (National Assembly members), of being in the interest of
the people, are rather purely parochial and self-serving. They are
merely meant to deceive people at localities and enable the promoters
score cheap political gains at the interest of genuine collective
“When the chips are down, majority of these either
do not see the light of the day or end up with only jamboree ceremony of
foundation laying as they are roundly abandoned across board. A trip to
regions and communities around the country will prove this case in
“It is therefore pertinent that the President gets his acts together as a
leader and constructively engage all involved in the budget process to
see governance as a collective responsibility, sanitize the process and
institute the culture and practice of best practices and due process in
budget-making and implementation in Nigeria. This is the only way the
nation and its citizens can begin to meaningfully consolidate on the
gains of democracy economically and otherwise,” Bellonwu-Okafor stated.