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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