Amid concerns Nigeria’s 2022 Budget is loan-backed and bogged down by debt financing, President Buhari’s administration will be spending almost a trillion Naira on items that may never be accounted for.
These items which fall under miscellaneous expenses are hardly recorded into the Open Treasury Portal (OTP) and when they are, the information is vague.
OTP is an accountability platform, established in 2019 which seeks to enable “timely availability of financial information to the civil society organizations and the public at large by all MDAs of the federal government”.
The platform expects that Accountant General of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) provide transaction details along with receipts for spending in the region of N5 to 10 million for publication on the OTP.
However, due to the fact the miscellaneous expenses are small and infrequent transactions throughout the year, they are rarely documented on OTP and hence referred to as invisible expenses by civil societies and concerned Nigerians.
Ripples Nigeria had reported that the 2022 proposed budget of N16.39 trillion was submitted by President Buhari on October 7th with a deficit of N6.29 trillion, and N5.01 trillion expected borrowing.
Despite this pressure, miscellaneous payments were not only a prominent feature of the budget but they appeared 721 times.
These expenses consist of refreshment and meals, honorarium and sitting allowance, publicity and advertisements.
Others are postages and courier services, welfare packages, subscription to professional bodies, sporting activities, annual budget expenses and administration.
For this analysis, Ripples Nigeria was only able to examine the expenses of 172 MDAs.
The total budgeted amount for Miscellaneous expenditures for the MDAs examined was N14.76 billion.
For instance, a breakdown shows the presidency, which is made up of 17 agencies, namely the State House HQ, State House President, Vice President and Lagos Office, NIPSS, EFCC, BPP and NEITI, wants to spend over N2.64 billion on miscellaneous matters in 2022.
This is a 19.4 percent increase from the N2.21 billion budgeted in the current 2021 budget.
At the Budget 2022 presentation, Zainab Ahmed, the Nigeria Minister of Finance was quoted as emphasizing government’s need to borrow, and this begs the question of why Nigeria has to spend so much to fund these transactions.
Further analysis of the presidency budget shows State House miscellaneous expenses will gulp N1.02 billion and the office of the president and the office of the vice President will also spend N250.83 million and N99.79 million respectively.
The Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will also be spending N367.14 million on miscellaneous in 2022.
EFCC’S miscellaneous expenses include N60.96 million for food/refreshment, and honorarium while sitting allowance will gulp N13.49 million.
Also, publicity and advertisements will take N80.29 million while N46.95 million will be spent on medical expenses.
EFCC will also spend N29.11 million on Postages & Courier Services, and N40.50 million on Welfare Packages.
Subscription to professional bodies will take N26.86 million, and sporting activities, N26.8 million.
Annual Budget Expenses and Administration is another interesting allocation in the miscellaneous expenses, and EFCC will be spending N20.10 million on it.
This is despite government already paying salaries to staff that prepare budgets and appropriation bills.
Other MDAs under the presidency to have budgeted heavily for miscellaneous expenses include office of the Chief of Staff to the president (N17.65 million), office of the Chief Security Officer to the president (N4.15 million).
Others can be seen from the table below.
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