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2020 Budget: NLC to partner Auditor General against leakeges, corruption

* Says CBN, Custom and others budget is more than 60 percent of national budget

By Appolos Christian

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday say it will partner with the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation to ensure transperency and accountability in the budget system.

Speaking at a Round Table on the 2020 budget in Abuja, President of the Congress Comrade Ayuba Wabba, exptessed displeasure that budget of certain agencies of government are so humongous when compared to the total figure of the national budget.

Wabba went on to sat that budget of agencies such as CBN, NIMASA, Custom, and others are more than 60 percent of the national budget. Adding that the ssid said budget of these agencies are not inclusive of the national budget.

The Labour leader further said that these seperate budgets create leakages and avenue for corruption and mismanagement of the country’s scarce reasources.

Comrade Wabba then hinted that the Congress in conjunction with it’s civil society allies and other relevant agencies would henceforth interrogate budgeting and it Implementation to ensure all leakages are blocked.

According to him, the round table was put together by the congress to create the necessary awareness by the citizens to interrogate the budgeting system in Nigeria so as the impact is felt by the citizens.

He said “We will do a lot of engagement so as to come out clearly with a policy document that can be used to do serious engagement with government and other agencies.

” The Round Table is about getting information, about taking decision, it is about also producing policy document that will assist both the NLC and her affiliates as well as civil society allies to do proper engagement.

“The issue of budget is so important in Nigeria although it is also controversial because whereas we have always looked at the national budget, but while I was preparing and looking at the context of discussing budget in Nigeria I realized also there are about 60 agencies that there budget alone is more than 60 per cent of our national budget.

“I single that one, CBN, this morning when I was trying to look at my document and I saw that the budget of CBN alone for this year is about N2 trillion and many other agencies, NAMESA, Customs, they are not captured in the national budget and when you put their budget all together is about 60 per cent of the national budget.

“Therefore, most a times, our attention is not being focused on these budgets and the money is so humongous.
Take for instance CBN, there may be duplication of efforts where we have scares resources, but there is a lot of duplication of efforts or at worst nothing happens.

“Secondly, closely related with the issue of the budget, is also the issue of accountability and transparency because most of these budgets are being implemented by ministries, departments and agencies, in most cases they are not accountable, and that have been pointed out clearly I think I have to appreciate our colleagues for pointing out the fact that in the present days Nigeria, office of the Auditor General of the Federation have been reduced to mere NGO because his report is not taken seriously.

“But he has raised fundamental issues about budget implementation, about leakages, about corruption still in the body of our ministries, departments and agencies. Therefore, it is high time if you want to move forward and make sure that even the scarce resources that are available are budgeted year in year out, let us see how they can be able to make impact.

“The fact is that impact is not being made, budget system is like ritual, every year we come we make the ritual and it goes, at the end of the day when you look at the performance of the budget, or what we have been able to achieve through the budget, I think we have not been doing postmortem of what have we been able to achieve actually.

“For instance, the year ending 2019, what is the performance of the budget, where are those projects located, can we actually see the projects, for the money have been carted away. These are issues that we need to address, that is why the office of the accountant general of the federation has , and he has come out clearly to say that many agencies are not even audited and where he audits them the report is not respected.

“We call on government very strongly because we are going to partner with the office of the Auditor general of the Federation to raise issues about what he has been able to bring out.
Part of fighting corruption is to ensure that the scarce resources is managed is such a way that citizens are able to benefit. It will address the issue of inequality, it can address the issue of poverty, it can address the issue of unemployment but importantly, it can fix some of our critical infrastructure.

“Today you see the standards of our roads, you see the budget what was provided is build a standard road, but when the road is completed, give it three years, you will find out that the road is almost gone.

“That is why when you compare the road that is being built now and the roads with have in the 60s and 80s those roads are still standing; these are a lot of contradiction. And those are things that we intend to interrogate”.

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