February 24, 2017

No padding in 2017 budget —D-G, Budget Office

MDAs will return unspent funds to treasury after Dec 31— Akabueze

Ben Akabueze

*Explains repetitions of budget items

By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

ABUJA — The Director-General of Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, has explained that repetitions of items in the 2017 budget were due to non-funding of such items in previous appropriations.

He spoke at a media briefing  yesterday in Abuja to clarify issues in the budget, some of which had attracted sharp criticisms from members of the public.

He said: “It is not a secret that for a long time now, the Federal Government has not been able to fully implement its annual budget, especially the capital expenditure component.

Pastor Ben Akabueze

“It should be noted that capital budget implementation depends on resource availability. As such, MDAs’ budgetary provisions not fully funded in the 2016 Budget will be repeated in the 2017 budget.

“When we sent out the Call Circular, we told them (MDAs) clearly that those items that could not be funded in the previous budget should be re-presented.”

Akabueze gave a similar explanation for the multi-million naira budget for the State House kitchen utensils.

He said: “I believe that the Permanent Secretary has made a public statement about it and even when he appeared before the National Assembly, the fact that though it was in the 2016 budget, it was not funded because it was not classified as a priority.

No padding in 2017

He insisted that there was no padding in the 2017 budget as, according to him, the process was very transparent.

Akabueze asked members of the public accusing government officials to seek clarifications in order to more gainfully engage on the budget rather than arriving at wrong conclusions.

“I can say without equivocation that there is no padding in the 2017 budget. I would urge interested members of the society to ask for more constructive engagement,” he said.