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CPD BEMOANS EXCESSIVE SPENDING BY PRESIDENCY, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

By NBF News
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WHILE the national focus has been on the National Assembly in recent times over alleged Jumbo pay and excessive spending, the Centre for Population and Development (CPD), has asked Nigerians to direct their focus at the Presidency, saying it has been a conduit pipe for non-prudential drawing of public fund.

CPD's executive director, Mr. Zuaaku Bonat, explained that with the focus at the Presidency, Nigerians would realise that the recent revelation by Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido about 25 per cent spending of the national budget was a tip of the iceberg.

Bonat, who spoke to The Guardian at the Journalism Development Programme on education sector at the National Teachers Institute, Kaduna, pointed out that instead of devoting substantial part of the budget  to fund education, it is being wasted on duplicity of functions in the ministries and the Presidency.

'I look at it a little more broadly. You may want to look at the total amount of money with the proportion of the national budget that we spend on administration.

It has been increasing and increasing. It has been increasing in the House of Representatives and the Senate and it has been increasing in the Presidency,' he said.

However, he indicated that the capital budget has not been expanding at the same rate as cost on administration, adding that much was spent on this aspect than on education.

Bonat said government was always quick to point at the huge amount voted for education, not taking into cognisance the millions of children at school, hundreds of thousands of teachers teaching, as well as, the hospitals and health institutions and facilities that needed to be upgraded.

'We have a really big problem of misplacement of priority in the country.

The problem is not just with the national assembly because all these presidential advisers and assistants and all sorts of Nebulous entries in to the budget of the Presidency, entries that can not be justified in any way whatsoever.

'In the ministries you find all sorts of things called miscellaneous without anything attached to them and by the time you go through the miscellaneous you find that they constitute up to 60 per cent of the total overhead budget of these ministries, now what is miscellaneous that can not be stated or defended.'

He explained that before now they used to lump the miscellaneous expenses under one subheading making the miscellaneous in a ministry over N600 million.

Bonat explained further that when the ministries were being monitored they began to split them in to small units of N10 million in different departments in the ministry adding that by the time the small units are added up it will still amount to the same N600 million.

'If the salary for a local government in a month is N16 million you find out that the miscellaneous expenses will pay the salaries of the staff of a local government for three years you begin to wonder what type of system we are running.

'So it is not just the national assembly but first of all let us take a view of the budget and how it is funded and how releases are made for you to be able to appreciate the tremendous wastage that we have been going through in this country,' he reiterated.