Government & Politics

Directors, Perm Secs Panic Over Budget Probe

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There is heightened tension among directors and permanent secretaries of some federal ministries, agencies and departments over the revelations by the Presidency that 2016 budget was tampered with.

Many of the top government officials, who were responsible for preparing the budget in their respective agencies, had become jittery that they could be probed.

Presidency sources had, on Saturday, revealed attempts by a ‘budget mafia’ in the Federal Government’s bureaucracy to scuttle innovations introduced into the budget by inflating figures.

It was learnt that the mafia proposed a budget of N9.7tn for capital spending and overheads, excluding personnel cost, as against the Presidency’s initial total estimate of about N8tn.

The group was said to have proposed N3tn as overheads alone out of the N9.7tn, a figure the Presidency later slashed to N163bn.

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The source in the Presidency, who claimed that the mafia was responsible for the controversial provisions in the eventual N6.07tn budget sent to the National Assembly by the Presidency, added, “These bureaucrats also proposed to spend N2.1trn on personnel for the 2016 estimate compared to about N1.8tn in the 2015 budget.”

A director in one of the ministries confided in our correspondent that many of his colleagues were startled about the revelation from the Presidency, stating that heads would roll as a result of the scam.

The director, who described the extent of padding of the budget as mind-blowing, stated that while the issue of padding of budget was not new, the magnitude of figure involved in the current scam was huge.

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