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RipplesMetrics: Nigeria to spend N53bn to buy computer softwares in two years

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RipplesMetrics: Nigeria to spend N53bn to buy computer softwares in two years

One hundred and twelve (112) Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have requested N21 billion for computer software acquisition in the 2021 budget, pushing Nigeria’s total spend to N53 billion in two years for the same item.

The request which is contained in the 2021 appropriation bill presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly for approval has, among others, a budget of N218,123m from the National Film And Video Censor Board, and N9.3 billion from the Nigeria Immigration Service for computer software acquisition.

National Social Investment Office also budgeted N2.3 billion, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget And National Planning (Headquarters) also wants N2.2 billion to acquire softwares in 2021.

What is interesting is, in 2020, 84 MDAs had budgeted N31 billion for the same item.

Other MDAs to have budgeted so much to acquire softwares for their computers include National Emergency Management Agency (N734.2m), National Identity Management Commission (N397.8m), Ministry of Defence Headquarters (N347.7m), Ministry of Justice Headquarters (N293.6m), and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (N284m).

While it is not clear what types of software are being bought yearly, the State House also plans to spend N87 million for software in two years. This is N62.9 million in 2021 and 24.1million in 2020.

Early this year, the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion had said N79.3bn was saved through insisting MDAs make use of indigenous softwares.

According to Dan-Azumi Mohammed, the Director General of NOTAP, ” the amount of money spent by Nigerian government is in excess of $400 million about N15.2 billion annually on foreign software.”

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So, while it is uncertain what types of software are being used and the expiry dates for each software, Nigerians are worried about the yearly spent to acquire softwares by ministries.

The 2021 budget, the federal government had promised, was designed for economic recovery and resilience. But not many Nigerians have bought into this, and have taken to social media, describing the 2021 budget as ‘wasteful’ due to outrageous and unnecessary items allocated huge sums even in the face of economic downturn in the country.

The total amount of 13.8 trillion budget will be financed by N4.28 trillion domestic and foreign borrowing, and also includes personnel cost of N3.76 trillion and debt service of N3.12 trillion. But items in the budget are raising questions of whether the budget, indeed, reflects the right priority.

Nigeria is already due next year for another round of external debt repayment for matured loans put at $2,156,228,000 (N822bn), with uncertainty around global oil market from where Nigeria receives the bulk of her revenue.

Nigerians are hoping a respite will come soon to the harsh economic situation currently being faced, and this can only happen through appropriate use of scarce resources.

By Dave Ibemere…

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