FG allocates N732.5bn for empowerment projects in 2024 Budget, higher than allocations for health projects

Tracka, BudgIT’s service delivery promotion platform  has discovered N732.5 billion worth of empowerment projects in the 2024 Federal Government Capital and Constituency Projects, an amount higher than the N646.5 billion allocated to health projects.

Head, Tracka, Ayomide Ladipo in a statement stated that despite the 2023 record of Nigeria having the second-highest child mortality rate in the world, the government has shown no signs of tackling these critical emergencies head-on, as the allocations in the 2024 budget do not reflect priority in the health sector.

Tracka maintains that empowerment projects are vague and challenging to track due to their nature. They are also used as a funnel to transfer public resources to party loyalists, resulting in the misuse of public funds. In the 2024 Federal Government budget, there are 4,440 empowerment projects.

Previously, empowerment projects were limited to constituency projects, but over the years, they have gradually seeped into capital projects through insertions by the National Assembly. For instance, the National Assembly inserted 7,447 projects valued at N2.24 trillion in the 2024 budget. Tracka identifies this as a problematic trend, considering the huge infrastructure gap and budget deficits the nation is grappling with.

Further analysis also showed that over 2,558 projects worth N624 billion were allocated to agencies outside their mandate. An example is the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) – ERGP20241489 – allocated N5 billion for the Procurement and Distribution of Official Vehicles to Selected Traditional Rulers in the Six Geo-Political Zones in Nigeria (Multiple Lots).

Another is the Nigeria Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NiOMR) – ERGP20245718 – allocated N2.32 billion to construct a 3.5km Road from  Methodist Church Ibu to the Eri River.

BudgIT’s Country Director, Gabriel Okeowo, expressed concern over this development. “The implications of assigning projects to agencies outside of their mandate are that it undermines monitoring, evaluation, and the sustainability of these projects. These agencies lack the expertise and personnel to ensure quality service delivery for these projects, leading to under-delivery and a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money and scarce resources.”

Tracka calls on anti-graft agencies to probe these anomalies in the 2024 budget to forestall diversion, misappropriation, and embezzlement. We also call on elected representatives and Ministries, Department and Agencies to provide timely updates to the public and ensure the quality implementation of these projects to ensure Nigerians derive maximum benefit from public funds.

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