Despite various allegations of padding in the 2017 Budget, the Director-General of Budget Office of the Federation, Mr Ben Akabueze, has insisted that there is no issue of padding associated with this year’s budget proposal.
He also disclosed that the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) is updating its price list which will be structured into the budget preparation application to make it impossible for different agencies to use different prices for same items in the budget.
Akabuezee who stated this at media briefing on the 2017 budget proposal stressed that an item may reoccur in another year’s budget if financial provisions were not made for it even though it appeared in the previous year.
“I can say without equivocation that there is no padding in the 2017 Budget proposal. The process of preparing the 2017 Budget required MDAs to upload their budgets online by their accredited officers who were issued access codes to ensure an audit trail of all entries. The chief executive and chief accounting officers of all MDAs were required to certify their final budget inputs. The budget presented to the National Assembly by Mr President was exactly what the MDAs certified.
“It is not a secret that for a long time now, the FGN has not been able to fully implement its annual budget, especially the capital expenditure component. It should be noted that capital budget implementation depends on resources availability. As such MDAs,’ budgetary provisions not fully funded in the 2016 budget will be repeated in the 2017 budget.
“Differential prices for same items is a valid concern which we ourselves are working to address. Going forward, BBP and Budget Office Federation will work collaboratively to ensure timely review of price lists. When it comes to construction projects, including the VIP toilets, it should be noted however that it is possible for different rates to apply depending on the physical terrain and security situation”, he stated.