BudgIT raises alarm over allocations in 2024 budget

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

BudgIT, through its open-source service delivery monitoring platform, Tracka, has uncovered significant discrepancies in the 2024 federal budget, particularly concerning the allocation of N732.5 billion for empowerment projects.

This figure surpasses the allocation of N646.5 billion earmarked for health projects, a revelation that has sparked concerns about governmental priorities and resource management.

In a statement issued on Monday, BudgIT criticized the allocation for empowerment projects as vague and challenging to monitor, emphasizing that such projects often serve as conduits for channeling public funds to political loyalists, thereby fostering misuse of public resources.

Tracka’s analysis revealed a staggering 4,440 empowerment projects included in the 2024 budget. Historically confined to constituency projects, these initiatives have increasingly infiltrated capital projects through insertions by the National Assembly, a trend that BudgIT views as detrimental given Nigeria’s substantial infrastructure deficit and budgetary shortfalls.

Highlighting further anomalies, BudgIT pointed out that over 2,558 projects valued at N624 billion were allocated to agencies outside their designated mandates. Examples cited include SMEDAN’s allocation of N5 billion for the procurement and distribution of vehicles to traditional rulers across Nigeria’s geopolitical zones, and NiOMR’s allocation of N2.32 billion for a road construction project, actions that BudgIT argues undermine project oversight, evaluation, and sustainability.

BudgIT’s Country Director, Gabriel Okeowo, expressed deep concern over these findings, emphasizing that such misallocations jeopardize effective service delivery and constitute a misuse of taxpayer funds and scarce resources.

In response to these revelations, BudgIT called upon anti-corruption agencies to investigate the irregularities within the 2024 budget to prevent potential diversion and embezzlement.

It also urged elected officials and government agencies to provide transparent updates and ensure the accountable implementation of projects, thereby maximizing the benefits for Nigerian citizens.

The organization’s advocacy underscores the critical need for stringent oversight and responsible fiscal management to safeguard public funds and promote equitable development across Nigeria.

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