Nigeria moves to improve global transparency rating
Following the controversies that have consistently trailed Nigeria’s budget from 2016 alleged missing budget to the five months delay in signing the nation’s 2017 Appropriation bill into law, and the 2018 criticisms by lawmakers, the Budget Office in collaboration with DFID’s Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn, PERL, has stepped in to review and improve budgeting process Nigeria.
At a maiden budget dialogue, which held on Friday, January 31st, 2017, in Abuja, civil society groups, leaders of private businesses and other citizens were given a voice at both the budget preparation and review/amendment stages.
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The Director-General of Nigeria’s Budget Office, Mr Ben Akabueze, called on Nigerians to flag suspicious items in the budget in order to make the document more inclusive.
“If there are any items in the budget that you think ought not to be in the budget, that should not be a priority at this point in time, flag it.
“The budget is still in process, so it is still possible to make amendment where there is superior logic.”
On the allegations of N10 billion meant to offset outstanding contractors’ liabilities under the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Akabueze noted that since the government is continuity, there are accumulated debt owed contractors by previous administrations that need to be cleared.
“I don’t think it is a secret that government owes contractors going back several years and all the ministry has done here is to make a small provision which doesn’t even clear those liabilities,” he said.
On his part, Director Monitoring, Budget Office, Mr Bart Fese, expressed the agency’s commitment to support independent tracking of projects captured in the budget.
“Civil societies should take an independent approach going to the field themselves because if they become an appendage of government, their report may not be seen as independent.”
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