June 8, 2023

2023 Budget: Street lights allocation surpasses schools, primary health centres by 4.9%

2022 Budget: Amendment of mining laws gulps N8.4m, as exploration of 9 minerals gets N161m

By Peter Egwuatu

The Federal Government’s budget for 2023 is still drawing more controversy as a fiscal policy advocate group noted that allocation for installation of street lights is far more than the combined sum allocated to education and primary health centres across the country by 4.9 percent.

BudgIT Nigeria, a Non Governmental Organisation, NGO, in a report sent to Vanguard stated: “Shocking figures reveal that an exorbitant amount of N81.7 billion has been allocated to the construction of solar street lights in the 2023 budget. Surprisingly, this allocation surpasses the total funds allocated to schools and primary health centers, which stand at N77.9 billion and N3.1 billion, respectively.

“Such a disproportionate allocation raises concerns about the government’s prioritization of resources.

“Additionally, it is worth noting that numerous existing street lights have become non-functional and vandalised within just two years of their construction, further highlighting the misplacement of priorities.”

Continuing, it stated: “Our analysis has uncovered numerous irregularities in the allocation of funds to various agencies. Over 687 projects worth N112 billion have been assigned to agencies beyond their mandated scope. For instance, the Nigerian Army has received an allocation of N4.5 billion for the construction of the Dengi-Kwalmiya-Gagdi-Wawus Bauchi Road in Plateau State.

“Similarly, the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research has been assigned N1.2 billion across four projects to supply medical equipment to health centers in Ogun State.

“Furthermore, N580 million has been allocated to the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, for the construction of roads and street lights in Abia State, among other questionable allocations.

“This year, there has been a noticeable reduction of 21% in the percentage of funds allocated to empowerment projects compared to the previous year”.