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19 Jul 2017

Budget Padding: Bureau Of Public Procurement Indicts CBN, Power Ministry, SGF

A government agency has found loopholes in the preparation and implementation of national budgets in Nigeria with institutions indicted.
President Muhammadu Buhari's budget presentation
The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) on Tuesday blamed the ministries of Power, Petroleum, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and 19 others for over budgeting, untidy preparation and poor implementation of the budget.

This followed a painstaking review of contract awards by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government that has saved Nigeria N32 billion in 2016 alone, BPP said.

These were contained in a report released to journalists on Tuesday by BPP. The report, which some highly placed BPP staff said was watered down, did not indirectly indict the MDAs of corruption but it nevertheless showed the untidy ways MDAs prepare and implement their budgets in unrealistic manner, leaving room for embezzlement.

The report noted that 23 MDAs requested for N2.71 trillion for various projects while BPP certified and approved N2.68 trillion.

According to the report, the highest saving came from the Ministry of Power amounting to N224 billion. The report, however, failed to point out why such a huge sum was left unspent but it was indicated that some of the projects that were tucked in were not realistic and thus un-executable.

It explained that the Ministry of Power requested for N1.929 trillion meanwhile it only awarded contracts worth N1.907 trillion.

The second highest saving was recorded in the often less budget monitored SGF Office. It saved N5.7 billion from the SGF Office from an initial request of N32.3 billion, indicating that N26.6 billion was awarded for its projects.

Also, Ministry of Petroleum requested for N19 billion but BPP granted approval of N18.6 billion. It thus saved N1.39 billion.

The Ministry of Transport requested for N555.3 billion while BPP granted N554.5 and saved N818.7 million. About N72 million was also saved from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from an initial request of N6 billion.

The agency which was established in 2007 to ensure transparency, competition and quality in the nation’s public sector procurement process pointed out that no savings were made from the ministries of Science and Technology; Youth and Sport; Communication Technology and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as they all got what they requested for.

In explaining how MDAs that got their 100% request did it, BPP explained that Science and Technology requested for and awarded contracts worth N580 million; Youth and Sports, N1.1 billion; Communication Technology, N101.1 billion and EFCC, N311 million.

According to the report, BPP received 374 complaints from petitioners in 2016 and was able to close 260 while investigations were still ongoing for 114 cases.

According to it, the petitions were treated to achieve value for money to the Federal Government by ensuring full compliance with the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2007.

The BPP which regulates policies guiding how MDAs award contracts and review the process of procurement further noted that it issued 227 certificates of ‘No Objection’ to MDAs at the values stated.

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