The Ministry of Budget and National Planning, which has since been collapsed by President Muhammadu Buhari into the Ministry of Finance, has failed to account for a N7.3bn subhead in the 2018 budget.
Sahara Reporters made the discovery in a response to a Freedom of Information request addressed to the Permanent Secretary of the ministry on July 3 2019.
The request was sent through the Civic Media Lab’s Citizens Enquiry platform and it was discovered that two duplicate subheads voting N7.3bn and N2.3bn to “Entitlements of Former Presidents/Heads of State and Vice Presidents/ Chief of General Staff,” were in that budget.
Responding to the observation in a letter dated July 23 2019, the ministry through its Chairman, FOI Implementation Committee, said, “The 2018 Appropriation did not provide the sum of N7.3bn to this subhead but N2.3bn.
“The former Presidents/Head of State and Vice Presidents/ Chief of General Staff are not on the payroll of the MBNP but are paid salary for life.
“Their details can be obtained from Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.”
Sahara Reporters had also asked the budget ministry before its merger with finance, for the breakdown of N21bn budgeted as contribution to international organisations and the details of another N40bn reserved as subscription to shares in different financial institutions but the ministry directed the publication to the Ministry of Finance, refusing to answer the question asked.
It said, “Contributions to internal organisations (N21bn) are statutory contributions that the Federal Government of Nigeria makes to international organisations such as Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, United Nations, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, United Nations Children’s Fund etc.
“The details of the organisations that were paid from the vote should be obtained from the Federal Ministry of Finance that executes the budget.
“Subscription to shares in international organisations (N40bn) are subscriptions the FGN pays to international organisations such as African Development Bank, Islamic Bank, etc.
“It is the investment that the FGN makes on behalf of the country. The request for details of the organisations and payments should be directed to the Federal Ministry of Finance in the country’s budget.”
The Citizens Enquiry platform spotted myriad of duplicate line items in the country’s budget without anyone willing to give any sort of explanation on why this is so despite being contacted by Sahara Reporters.