FG won’t ac­com­mo­date ve­hi­cle ex­pen­di­ture, oth­ers in 2019 bud­get

The Punch - - BUSINESS NEWS -

THERE are in­di­ca­tions that the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment will not ac­com­mo­date pro­pos­als for the acquisition of ve­hi­cles and pur­chase of fur­ni­ture in the 2019 bud­get.

Also, the gov­ern­ment had asked Min­istries, De­part­ments and Agen­cies not to sub­mit pro­pos­als in the bud­get for the con­struc­tion of of­fice or res­i­den­tial build­ings and equip­ping of non-crit­i­cal of­fices.

These are con­tained in the 2019 Bud­get Call Cir­cu­lar, which was ob­tained from the Bud­get Of­fice of the Fed­er­a­tion by our cor­re­spon­dent.

The Bud­get Call Cir­cu­lar, which was signed by the Min­is­ter of Bud­get and Na­tional Plan­ning, Sen­a­tor Udo Udoma, sets out the re­quire­ments and in­struc­tions that must be sat­is­fied and fol­lowed in the prepa­ra­tion of the 2019 Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment bud­get pro­posal.

The doc­u­ment read in part, “Only ex­pen­di­tures on pro­grammes/projects that are truly of a cap­i­tal­na­ture, and which align with gov­ern­ment pri­or­i­ties will be ad­mit­ted into MDAS’ cap­i­tal bud­get pro­pos­als.

“Ex­cept where ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal to the func­tion­ing of re­spec­tive MDAS, pro­pos­als such as ex­pen­di­ture on ve­hi­cles, fur­nish­ing, con­struc­tion or pur­chase of of­fice or res­i­den­tial build­ings and equip­ping of non-crit­i­cal of­fices will not be ac­com­mo­dated in the 2019 bud­get.

“MDAS are re­minded not to pro­vide for re­cur­rent ex­pen­di­ture in their cap­i­tal bud­get. The Bud­get Of­fice shall re­al­lo­cate any such pro­vi­sions to Cap­i­tal Projects within/out­side the MDAS as it deems.”

The bud­get of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment had in re­cent times come un­der se­ri­ous scru­tiny in the light of rev­e­la­tions that some of the pro­vi­sions were not nec­es­sary.

Over the years, some as­pects of the ex­pen­di­ture have al­ways fea­tured re­peat­edly in the an­nual bud­get of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

Some of them are the pur­chase of mo­tor ve­hi­cles, wel­fare pack­ages, soft­ware, com­put­ers, uni­forms and cloth­ing, re­fresh­ment and meals and sub­scrip­tion to pro­fes­sional bod­ies.

Oth­ers are the main­te­nance of of­fice build­ing/ res­i­den­tial quar­ters, bud­get prepa­ra­tion, res­i­den­tial rents, and ab­sence of price database, among oth­ers.

The Cen­tre for So­cial Jus­tice had in a re­port said the 2016 bud­get con­tained N668.8bn ex­pen­di­tures that are “friv­o­lous, in­ap­pro­pri­ate, un­clear and waste­ful”

The Lead Direc­tor, CSJ, Eze Onyekpere, said it had be­come a tra­di­tion among gov­ern­ment MDAS to al­lo­cate huge sums of money for ex­pen­di­tures that are un­clear in the bud­get.

Giv­ing a break­down of some of the ex­penses that made up the un­clear ex­pen­di­ture, Onyekpere said for the State house, for in­stance, the sum of N3.91bn was al­lo­cated for an­nual re­port­ing main­te­nance of villa fa­cil­i­ties in 2016 while N618.6m was bud­geted for the in­stal­la­tion of elec­tri­cal fit­tings.

he said, “Pur­chase of mo­tor ve­hi­cles is a com­mon re­quest across many MDAS. how do we de­ter­mine gen­uine from friv­o­lous re­quests?

“Should NASS de­mand an in­ven­tory of ex­ist­ing ve­hi­cles? There is a need for jus­ti­fi­ca­tion be­fore ev­ery ap­proval. The de­mand for ve­hi­cles is even specif­i­cally tied to some for­eign brands.

“This is wrong un­der the Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment Act as only the func­tional spec­i­fi­ca­tion of a prod­uct should be in the bud­get.”

he said rather than spend the funds for the pro­cure­ment of the items, it should be re-chan­nelled to other pro­duc­tive sec­tors of the econ­omy.

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