AGAIN, going by recent revelations that the 2016
budget estimates was padded, it is longer news or
strange that figures in the nation’s annual budgets
are often indiscriminately increased.
Padding budgets means criminally engaging
in increasing subheads of estimates in any item
for personal enhancement and embezzlement by
highly placed public servants. It is also the act of
submitting multiple items with subtle, unclear and
ambiguous titles. It is also true that public servants
have padded the nation’s annual estimates by
jerking- up or over invoicing projects sum as in
the case uncovered in the N100milion quoted for
the construction of just one borehole by one of the
famous ministries.
The act is the same as in the momentum it is carried
out time and again each time it is budget season. For
instance, to government officials, especially those
in the budget office and the various ministries,
budget time is chop-chop time. It is a season of
making over -night multimillion and billionaires
public and civil servants who steal through that
platform. In a country where stealing government
money by highly placed government officials is
a way of life, the recent outcry uncovered by the
National Assembly in the 2016 budget is a tip of the
iceberg. Stuffing subheads illegally for personal
gains is as old as budgeting for the country. The
illegality did not begin today. It started right from
the days of military governance of the country such
that it is imagined how no less than one quarter of
the nation’s yearly budget figures are often stolen
ultimately by individuals, top government officials
through budget stuffing.
This is economic sabotage and against the laws
of the land. It is highly criminal and ungodly too
because of the colossal fraud that is involved and
quietly frittered by those ordinarily saddled with
such high responsibility of budgeting to stimulate
the economy, save lives, build hospitals, provide
drugs, build roads and yet hide under such noble
task to line their pockets with huge sums at times
as outrageous as a fourth part of the total budget.
This is an anomaly, no doubt, that has confronted
us time immemorial without sanctions by past
administrations against perpetrators who have
developed an insatiable appetite for the deed.
Regrettably, while it is an open secret that
government’s increasing difficulty in financing
budgets in addition to regular deficit budgeting
regularly, is also as a result of in-house sabotage,
with the latest revelation, financing the budget will
now be less problematic since funds uncovered
from illegal and over bloated subheads will
definitely come down.
We are in agreement with Buhari’s administration
to punish not only persons who doctored the budget
but also others who padded it.
We support Mr. President’s zero tolerance for
corruption and urged him and his ministers to work
conscientiously with the NASS to give Nigeria that
budget of change it desires.
The National Assembly should be supported
continuously to scrutinise the estimates more
thoroughly in the manner it has previously done
to uncover these frauds. Both the executive and the
legislative arms of the federal government must
collaborate more than ever before to dig deep and
bring out more padding in order to reduce funding
of recurrent and deal with the capital component of
the budget.
Periodic budget roundtables should be held
more often between the minister of budget
planning, finance and various committees of the
NASS. Ministers should supervise and authorise
estimates presented to the budget office before it is
finally presented to the National Assembly by Mr.
President to save him future embarrassments.
However, as an economic sabotage, the Ex-DG
budget and five other directors allegedly fingered
in this scandalous act should be prosecuted by
President Buhari to serve as a deterrent to others.
This is our resolve in the fight against corruption in
this current dispensation of ‘change

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