The uncooperative dispositions and malpractices at the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, of the Federal Government have been identified as the major barriers to successful implementation of the Federal Government’s annual budgets.
Indications to this emerge from the Budget Implementation report of the Budget Office of The Federation, under the Ministry of Finance for the 2020 fiscal budget, which indicted some MDAs of practices that undermine implementation of the budget.
READ ALSO: Tear up the 2022 Budget, start praying
These practices include, under-reporting of budgetary releases, non-provision of financial details of project execution, denying access to project monitoring teams and execution of projects outside approved mandates.
The report titled, ‘‘2020 Fourth Quarter and Consolidated Budget Implementation Report’’, was based on the performance review of the implementation of the 2020 fiscal budget of the federal government which extended till May 31st 2021.
The report disclosed that N1.95 trillion was released and cash backed to the MDAs for their 2020 capital projects, while N1.44 trillion or 74 per cent was utilised as at March 31st 2021
The report further disclosed that a physical inspection exercise of selected capital projects was conducted to ascertain the actual utilisation of the N1.44 trillion by the MDAs. The exercise was held concurrently across the six (6) geo-political zones of the country from Monday 28th June to 16th July, 2021.
The outcome of the exercise, according to the Budget Office of the Federation, show that some MDAs engaged in activities that undermined the implementation of the 2020 budget.
The report stated: “It was observed that most of the MDAs enjoyed 100% funding in the 2020 fiscal year for the implementation of their capital projects/programmes. This has accounted for the appreciable level of performances in MDAs’ Budget implementation;
“Several discrepancies were observed between the figures reported in the OAGF MDAs’ performance and MDAs’ actual utilizations during the monitoring exercise as some MDAs have more releases than what was published.
“The OAGF document contradicts the information on MDAs’ expenditure. e.g Nigeria Airforce; Industry, Trade & Investment and Mines & Steel Development;
“Some MDAs denied access to the teams to monitor their capital projects/programmes. This act completely negates the principles of transparency and accountability.
“Examples of these MDAs include: ONSA, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Abuja; Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Abuja, Ibadan; Benin-Owena River Basin Authority, Epe-Aja Power Project and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Abuja;
“It was also observed that some MDAs executed projects that are outside their mandate which were inserted by the National Assembly. As a result, their implementation becomes difficult while key projects of MDAs were left to suffer at the expense of the constituency projects.
“Examples are: Ogun/Osun River Basin Development Authority, Bioresource Development Centre, Makurdi; National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Abuja and Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Jos;
“Some counterpart funded projects were plagued with funding issues which delayed the pace of work and may not meet up with their expected completion dates. Examples of such projects are: Abuja – Keffi – Akwanga – Lafia – Makurdi; Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Roads and Abuja Mass Transit Rail project. vi. Some MDAs split their projects into sections/components such that it becomes very difficult to determine their fundings and the percentage completions.
“Examples of such projects are: Abuja – Keffi – Akwanga – Lafia – Makurdi Road, Federal Road Safety Commission’s projects, Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria. “Poor level of cooperation from MDAs in providing financial details on their projects makes it difficult to track the performances.
“Examples of such MDAs include: Transport, Aviation, and Water Resources; viii. Some projects of MDAs are numerously scattered such that they could not be covered within the approved number of days for monitoring.
“Hence, the status of these projects and programmes could not be properly assessed or determined. Examples include: River Basin Development Authorities; Agriculture & Natural Resources, and Nigeria Commodity Exchange, Abuja.
“Some MDAs spread their limited resources too thinly over many projects with little or no impact on any. Examples are Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi; Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu; National Engineering Design Development Institute (NEDDI), Nnewi; National Hydraulic Equipment Research Institute, Kano and many Educational institutions.
“It was Observed that some completed MDAs’ projects lack adequate personnel to man them.
“This implies that such projects may not yield the intended objective and a resultant waste of resources. Examples include: Maternity Complex Project of National Fistula Centre, Katsina.”
Consequently, the Budget Office recommended that: “There is need for sustained funding by the Government to facilitate the timely completion of MDAs’ capital projects/ programmes especially for those nearing completion.
“This will enhance MDAs’ Budget performance and improve projects’ delivery;
“There is need for reconciliation between what was published by the OAGF as MDAs’ performance and the actual release/utilization;
“There is need for high level engagement with MDAs who deny access to monitoring teams or enforcement of sanctions, where necessary;
“There is need for robust synergy between the NASS and the Executive Arm of government on the insertion of constituency projects to ensure that due process is adhered to before admitting projects into the budget;
“Government should beam its light on counterpart funded projects to ensure that they are properly funded and completed on schedule;
“Splitting of projects into sections or components especially where the split component cannot stand alone as a project, should be discouraged;
“There is need to engage the Chief Executives of MDAs on the need for cooperation, compliance and accountability for the projects being implemented.”