The Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, described the proposed spending in the 2023 budget as wasteful and frivolous, saying, they do not have any bearing on the economic development of the country and well-being of the citizenry.
He said it was unfortunate that the president and his team were not people-centred and patriotic enough in coming up with a budget that will be able to rescue the economy and run the financial system in a manner that can revitalise the economy.
“What we see in this budget is simply duplications, wasteful and frivolous spending that is completely not in the interest of the Nigerian people, especially as we have seen so many proposed spending that is simply meant to continue to siphon taxpayers’ money. For example, we have seen a huge amount of money to finance what many Nigerians believe is a fraud; which is fuel subsidy because the fuel subsidy has no direct benefits for the Nigerian people and the economy, especially as the government has to go and borrow money to finance what has no tangible benefits for the Nigerian people.
“Nigerian people don’t benefit from this huge amount of money that the government spends in the name of subsidy. There is no transparency, no accountability, and no benefit for the Nigerian people and the economy. Secondly, in an era when you have a serious crisis in the economy, you are still proposing to pay money in the name of constituency projects. Many countries in Africa that used to do constituency projects have stopped because they are not projects that impact the people; they have become conduits for corruption and siphoning of public funds.
He deplored the humongous sums of money voted for the purchase of vehicles and other frivolous items, urging the National Assembly to jettison ‘blind loyalty’ while examining the budget document to remove all wasteful, duplicated, and frivolous items from the fiscal document.
“Again, we are just wondering why so much proposed spending is captured even though yearly, you see all these things recurring. Every year, you are buying vehicles even though you did not tell us what you have done with the previous ones that you bought. I think it is unfortunate that President Muhammadu Buhari presented this budget that is not people-centred; it is just to show you how the people who are handling the budget preparation do not care about the future of this country. What is the business of Mr President doing new projects? What he ought to do is to consolidate what he has started.
“I don’t understand how the government will continue to initiate projects that have no economic viability and benefits for the Nigerian people. Instead of concentrating on the projects you have already started to ensure they are completed, you are embarking on new frivolous projects to continue to siphon taxpayers’ money. It is simply to continue to impoverish the economy; it is meant to keep the economy in shambles and has nothing to do with the revitalisation of the economy.
“Therefore, the National Assembly has the duty and responsibility not to give blind loyalty by endorsing whatever the executive brings at this crucial time. The National Assembly must make history as they are winding up because this is the last budget that President Buhari has presented to them. The National Assembly should do everything possible to see how they can eliminate many of these dubious, frivolous, wasteful, and duplicated items in the budget”, he said.