FG won’t accommodate vehicle expenditure, others in 2019 budget

There are indications that the Federal Government will not accommodate proposals for the acquisition of vehicles and purchase of furniture in the 2019 budget.



Also, the government had asked Ministries, Departments and Agencies not to submit proposals in the budget for the construction of office or residential buildings and equipping of non-critical offices.



These are contained in the 2019 Budget Call Circular, which was obtained from the Budget Office of the Federation by our correspondent.



The Budget Call Circular, which was signed by the Minister of Budget and National Planning,  Senator Udo Udoma, sets out the requirements and instructions that must be satisfied and followed in the preparation of the 2019 Federal Government budget proposal.



The document read in part, “Only expenditures on programmes/projects that are truly of a capital-nature, and which align with government priorities will be admitted into MDAs’ capital budget proposals.



“Except where absolutely critical to the functioning of respective MDAs, proposals such as expenditure on vehicles, furnishing, construction or purchase of office or residential buildings and equipping of non-critical offices will not be accommodated in the 2019 budget.



“MDAs are reminded not to provide for recurrent expenditure in their capital budget. The Budget Office shall reallocate any such provisions to Capital Projects within/outside the MDAs as it deems.”



The budget of the Federal Government had in recent times come under serious scrutiny in the light of revelations that some of the provisions were not necessary.



Over the years, some aspects of the expenditure have always featured repeatedly in the annual budget of the Federal Government.



Some of them are the purchase of motor vehicles, welfare packages, software, computers, uniforms and clothing, refreshment and meals and subscription to professional bodies.



Others are the maintenance of office building/ residential quarters, budget preparation, residential rents, and absence of price database, among others.



The Centre for Social Justice had in a report said the 2016 budget contained N668.8bn expenditures that are “frivolous, inappropriate, unclear and wasteful”



The Lead Director, CSJ, Eze Onyekpere, said it had become a tradition among government MDAs to allocate huge sums of money for expenditures that are unclear in the budget.



Giving a breakdown of some of the expenses that made up the unclear expenditure, Onyekpere said for the State House, for instance, the sum of N3.91bn was allocated for annual reporting maintenance of villa facilities in 2016 while N618.6m was budgeted for the installation of electrical fittings.



He said, “Purchase of motor vehicles is a common request across many MDAs. How do we determine genuine from frivolous requests?



“Should NASS demand an inventory of existing vehicles? There is a need for justification before every approval. The demand for vehicles is even specifically tied to some foreign brands.



“This is wrong under the Public Procurement Act as only the functional specification of a product should be in the budget.”



He said rather than spend the funds for the procurement of the items, it should be re-channelled to other productive sectors of the economy.
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