Despite about N100 trillion budget by the federal government between 1999 and 2022, out-of-school children in the country rose from 10.5 million in 18 million.
The deputy director, MacArthur Foundation, Mr Dayo Olaide, disclosed this Thursday in Abuja during a summit on situating Constituency Projects in the 2023 Electioneering Campaigns. The event was organised by OrderPaper in partnership with Budgit and MacArthur Foundation.
Olaide regretted that Nigerian lawmakers are indifference to monitoring budget implementations, thus deny the citizenry of good governance.
Quoting him, “When the National Assembly passes the appropriation, it is a law but the effect of that appropriation will never be felt by the ordinary Nigerians unless it is implemented.
“Between 1999 and as we speak, the Nigeria’s federal government has budgeted over N100trillion. This year 2022 is N17trillion, last year N13trillion, 2020 – N11trillion, 2019 – N8trillion, that is already over N40trillion.
“And between 1999 and 2018, it budgeted over N63trillion – that is the federal government.
“But within that same period, out-of-school children rose from 10.5million to 18million. So ask the question, where are those over N100 trillion gone to?”
According to him, Nigerians are more concerned about deliveries, and not passages. In his words, “Nigerians when they wake up every morning, they are asking themselves, what does this budget mean for me as a person?
“The member of the House of Representatives that spoke before me indicated that in the last couple of years there has been improvement and progress in legislative activities.
“We applauded the National Assembly when the House of Representatives and the Senate commenced the process of developing for themselves a legislative agenda because we all felt this was a turning point and provided an opportunity for us to engage them and to hold them to account.
“The sector that I am very much interested in which, is governance, there is progress. You can talk about the Public Procurement Law which was never there. You can talk about the anti-corruption Act and the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the Nigerian Extractive Transparency Initiative Act and several important legislations that are in place.
“But the significance of any law is not in the paper that has been signed. It is in the impact that it is able to make in the lives of the ordinary Nigerians and I think that is why the biggest deficit is.”
A representative of Budgit, Adewale Adejola, who represented the country director, Mr Gabriel Okiewu, said despite 469 federal lawmakers, 36 governors, House of Assembly members and local government chairmen and councillors, it was disheartening that the citizenry live below standards.
According to him, “With our Tracker department, we monitor constituency projects in 32 states and the FCT. So we have the understanding of what is actually happening across the country.
“We also see that empowerment projects take more than 60 per cent of the N100billion allocation for constituency projects every year.
“Of the amount, the principal officers like the Senate president, speaker of the House of Representatives, Senate leader and his counterpart in the House take the largest share.
“The biggest challenge we have today is not corruption even though I do say sometimes, is corruption. Rather, it is the fast disappearing confidence and trust of citizens in anything that represents government and democracy now.
“Constituency projects present the unique opportunity for the National Assembly to build and restore that confidence so that when we say we speak on behalf and we appropriate funds on your behalf, we are actually doing that.”