The rising recurrent spending of ministries, departments and agencies, despite efforts to curtail it, has again caught the attention of the presidency.
The secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha raised the alarm at the 3rd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector, held at the State House Conference Hall in Abuja.
According to him, the recurrent spending of the federal ministries, agencies and parastatals continued to steadily rise since 2015.
He said the spending has primarily been put on travels, maintenance, local and international training, welfare, office stationery /consumables, honoraria and others.
He said, “Government is highly worried that about 60 percent of Federal Government’s Overhead Expenditure in three years (2012 to 2014) was spent on travels, maintenance, local and international training, welfare, office stationery /consumables, honoraria etc. Recent data from the Budget Office indicates that ‘actual MDAs recurrent spending is still on the rise viz. from N3.61 trillion in 2015 to N5.26 trillion in 2018 and N7.91 trillion in 2020.”
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, has, therefore, been unrelenting in making sure that our little resources will no longer be budgeted and/or used for frivolities, hidden in fake projects, unnecessary travel, wasteful overhead costs, meaningless capital projects and remuneration of ghost workers.
He noted that the government has also remain focused on getting back public resources that have found their ways into the private pockets of those who fraudulently orchestrate the budget process for their selfish desires.
“As a government, our concerns have always been and will always be continuously reflected and take measures to mitigate the negative consequences of unrestrained cost of governance”, he said.
Speaking about some of the steps being taken to mitigate the anomalies that graft had perpetuated, Mustapha said, “It is increasingly becoming public knowledge that our anti-corruption agencies, especially ICPC, are doing a lot in the area of prevention and also recovery of diverted or stolen public funds, building the capacity of MDAs to resist corrupt practices, promoting ethical values through the National Ethics and Integrity Policy of government.
“Some of the capacity building measures include system study and review of operations of MDAs; corruption risk assessment and the establishment of Anti-corruption Monitoring Units in all MDAs. Recoveries of public funds in recent years have no doubt demonstrated the strong resolve of the government to stem financial hemorrhages and promote initiatives towards curbing illicit financial flows”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, also disclosed that a total of 1,144 suspects have been convicted for financial and corruption-related cases across the country between January and November this year.
In his goodwill message at the event, the CJN said besides the convictions achieved against suspects of graft, forfeitures and recoveries running into billions of naira have also been achieved in the last few years, the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic notwithstanding.
“Even with the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in virtually the whole of 2020 and a better part of 2021, a total number of 746 corruption cases were dispensed with. Similarly, the number of forfeited non-cash recoveries made, include 51 automobiles, 16 real estates, 11 barge/tug boats and 2 schools.
“Between 2nd January and 14th November, 2021, a total number of 1,144 suspects were convicted of various corruption and financial related crimes, while the number of non-cash forfeited assets has also risen to include: eight aircrafts, seven filling stations, 48 real estates and 149 vehicles, amongst others.
“Similarly, various cash forfeitures were made in hundreds of millions of naira. We shall not rest on our oars until every trace of corruption and undue exercise of influence to negatively secure unmerited advantage over others is stamped out of our clime”, he said.