Barring last minute change of mind, President Muhammadu will on Tuesday (today) sign the 2020 Budget transmitted to him by the National Assembly, which includes N246 billion for mobile toilets, mobile kitchens and several other projects that have been described as “flimsy”.
The President submitted a proposal of N10.33 trillion for consideration, but, the National Assembly increased the budget to N10.594 trillion, inserting new projects.
The projects were said to have come under the Constituency Projects subhead, with most of them to be financed with foreign loans.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission had in a detailed report disclosed how lawmakers defraud the country via constituency projects.
The ICPC had accused the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria and Border Communities Development Agency of being two of the agencies being used to fleece the country when it comes to budgeting.
Some of the projects that will gulp the N264 billion under focus in the 2019 Budget are also coming via these agencies.
For instance, SMEDAN, an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Investment, had its budget upped to N14.85 billion from N11.02 billion.
This was done by lawmakers to make room for projects such as the “rehabilitation, surface dressing and construction of drainages of rural roads in selected locations in Isuiwato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency” for N500 million and “supply of mobile kiosks, mobile kitchen and modern SME tools entrepreneurial training for prospective entrepreneurs in Nigeria” for N730 million.
In the 2020 budget, capacity building and empowerment consist 70 per cent of all projects under SMEDAN.
The BCDA, which is domiciled in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Lawan, had its budget raised from N3.73 billion proposed by President Buhari to N5.46 billion.
In the BCDA budget, N100 million is budgeted for “youth empowerment in Yobe East Senatorial District” and “supply of tricycles and sewing machines in Yobe East Senatorial District” for N50 million.