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Tracka flays Nigerian govt over N732bn allotted to vague empowerment projects in 2024 budget

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Tracka, a subsidiary of BudgIT, has lamented that Nigeria allocated N732 billion on vague empowerment projects in the 2024 budget.

This figure, the organization lamented is higher than the N646.5 billion allocated to health projects in the budget

The Head of Tracka, Ayomide Ladipo, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

Tracka maintained that Nigeria’s empowerment projects were vague and challenging to track due to their nature.

According to Tracka, the huge allocation for empowerment projects would have been channeled to curb the gap in Nigeria’s health sector having the second-highest child mortality rate in the World.

Tracka alleged that empowerment projects were used as a funnel to siphon public resources.

It noted that the National Assembly has 7,447 projects valued at N2.24 trillion in the 2024 budget.

Further analysis of Tracka’s report also showed that over 2,558 projects worth N624 billion were allocated to agencies outside their mandate.

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Accordingly, Tracka asked anti-graft agencies in Nigeria to probe these anomalies in the 2024 budget to forestall diversion, misappropriation, and embezzlement.

“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,” the organisation said.

BudgIT’s Country Director, Gabriel Okeowo commenting on Tracka’s discovery said, “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.”

By: Babajide Okeowo

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