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Bayelsa, 9 others worst in transparent budgeting – Report

Ten states in Nigeria with Bayelsa leading did not provide information for the public to be involved in their 2018 budget process, a report has…

Ten states in Nigeria with Bayelsa leading did not provide information for the public to be involved in their 2018 budget process, a report has said.

The nine other states are Adamawa, Zamfara, Bauchi, Borno, Edo, Imo, Oyo, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers State. The report is tagged, the Nigerian States Budget Transparency Survey (NSBTS), recently unveiled by the Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC – Nigeria) in partnership with Department for International Development (DFID), UKAID and a consortium of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

The report also shows that Jigawa and Anambra offered the highest public participation opportunities that are considered adequate in the 2018 budget process. They include making key budget documents available, public participation and transparent procurement exercise.

However, seven states provided scanty opportunities, for the public to participate. They are Katsina, Kwara, Yobe, Kebbi, Ondo, Niger and Kogi.

An official of CIRDDOC, Pascal Anozie, at the survey unveiling, said CIRDDOC developed the Nigerian States Budget Transparency Survey (NSBTS) to analyse how transparent, open, and participatory budget and procurement processes were.

Anozie said the 2018 index found that Nigerian states on average provided minimal information on the budget and procurement processes with limited spaces for public participation.

The report also shows that the overall score improved by three points when compared to 2015 survey results organised by the same agency.

With an average score of 29 per cent, it disclosed that most states did not publish enough budget information, had limited spaces for citizens to be involved in the budget process, and provided minimal information on the procurement process.

“With a score of 87, Jigawa performs best on the index. They provide citizens with extensive budget information, have effective mechanisms for public consultation throughout the budget process, and have an open and robust procurement process.

“Kaduna and Delta scored above 60, meaning they provide significant budget information, spaces for public participation, and significant information on procurement. The majority of states score between 20 and 60, meaning they provide minimal to some information on the budget, few spaces for public participation, and limited information on the procurement process.

“Thirteen states have almost no budget information, non-existent spaces for public consultation, and opaque procurement processes,” he said.

Further analysis shows that only Jigawa scored above 60 on all three sub-indices – availability of key budget documents, public participation, and procurement transparency.

Kaduna scored above 60 on two out of three sub-indices, while Anambra, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Lagos, and Ogun scored above 60 on one out of three sub-indices, the report noted.

Nigeria to spend N150bn on wasteful items in 2020 budget

Meanwhile, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has said Nigeria risks losing N150 billion in the 2020 budget to ‘frivolous, inappropriate, unclear and wasteful’ expenditures listed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

The Lead Director, Eze Onyekpere spoke in Abuja while presenting an 87 page review of the 2020 budget estimates done under the Centre’s Citizens Wealth Platform (CWP) project.

Onyekpere said the 2020 budget that was at the National Assembly for consideration duplicated a lot of projects under different names, while some proposals had nothing to do with the MDA under which they were proposed, as well as others that were listed with suspicious labelling.

He said the continued failure to provide the details of Statutory Transfers and Service Wide Votes (SWV) and simply stating them as lump sums was against the rules of fiscal responsibility.

“Every item in the expenditure of the federal budget should reflect the best value for money. Best value in terms of being a priority expenditure that would contribute to the reduction of poverty, job creation, and contribute to increased value addition and revenue generation for the country,” he noted.

The report faulted the expenditures of the federal ministries of agriculture, works and housing as well as the Niger Delta, noting that many of their expenses had no clear deliverables.