Buhari Needs to Appoint Many Assistants By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

Buhari Needs to Appoint Many Assistants By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
February 01 15:59 2016

At 9.58pm yeterday, I received a Whatsapp message from No. W571 on my Hausa songs contact. He forwarded a Facebook post of someone he found important to bring to my notice. Unfortunately, he did not carry the name of the author of the comment which I will reproduce below.

The comment was titled, “The Biggest Case of Fraud Today Is Not $2.1b, It Is $30b.” The writing is very critical of the 2016 budget that is before the National Assembly. He cited instances of avoidable cost repetitions and embarassing figures that have bloated the expenditure side of the budget. If these duplications will be discounted, less borrowing to finance the over N2trillion will be needed, he concluded. His observations are very important and relevant, except that he has put them in a very harsh language, which should be overlooked. I thank him for his effort. Please endeavour to read it below.

His observation has further reinforced my idea that in spite of the half-empty state of our treasury, the President needs to employ many competent assistants in the Presidency. His pity for the treasury that is preventing him to do so is allowing the habitually fraudulent public servants in various ministries to continue with their habits. But governing Nigeria is not running our defunct TBO.

No matter how difficult are the times, a thorough work needs to be done in the Presidency such that when a paper is coming out of the State House, all Nigerians will be rest assured that the best hands have perused over it and it is the best Nigerians can have at the time. I disagree with the Facebook author of the comment when he called the duplicated inputs and some whooping expenditures “fraud”.

The world is witness to the honesty of the President. We voted for him precisely for this hallmark. However, honesty alone does not yield good governance. Competence is needed too, among many other things. And the competence of the president is not defined by the capacity of his grey matter alone, but by the aggregate capacity of his team. He can rely on his ministers to supervise his ministries, but his assistants will form the engine room of his brain. He cannot do without them. The earlier he appoints them the better. A situation where some ministers are doubling as assistants to the President is undesirable in a country with high human capital like Nigeria.

Just two days ago, I advised on the urgent need for him to overhaul the boardroms of many parastatals and renew the leadership of our foreign missions. May be he has forgotten and forgiven the reception blunders he got in New York during the last meeting of the UN General Assembly. The cries of millions of IDPs are there, plus many other things that are not directly controlled by ministers but very important to the Nigerians.

Here was the Whatsapp message I received:

START

The biggest case of fraud today is not $2.1b, its $30b…

The $30 Federal budget as proposed is simply fraudulent, these is just no way else to put it.

I had written earlier about the absence of the Education budget on the website of the Budget Office, yes there is a link to the Education budget, but click on it, it takes you to the Defense Budget, so in effect the education is “missing”. Undeterred I looked at the Consolidated

Budget to find the Education budget, I wish I did not.

This budget was termed and advertised as a “zero-based” budget, unfortunately, this budget is a fraud, anyone who approves or signs this budget is complicit.

Let me give you a few examples in this ‘missing” education budget, Federal Government College Garki has a cost N400,237 repeated 20 times…20 times! local transport, books, security, maintenance, etc etc etc, all the same cost for N400,237

Federal College Ijanike has N350,362 repeated 12 times, how can newspapers, cleaning, Legal, sporting etc etc etc all cost the same?

Federal College of Iket Nise as N1,278,682 repeated 8 times…. How? water, drugs, training…all cost exactly N1,278,682?

And it goes on and on and on……

Now before you assume it’s just restricted to the Ministry of Education, the ministry with the highest allocation the behemoth Ministry of Works, Housing and Power has a line items repeated 7 times i.e. “Generation of 700mw from Zungeru Hydropower project is duplicated 6 times!

These are just the duplication, what about the appropriateness of the expenses? The State House Hospital, just one hospital gets more allocation than all of Nigeria teaching hospitals combined….

Let me be very clear, the State House Medical Center get a proposed capital appropriation of N3.8b, the combined total of the capital vote for ALL teaching hospitals in Nigeria is about N3.0b….no wonder the capital vote is high this year….

Could the equipment being purchased for the State House Hospital not be installed in the National Hospital, so all Nigerian can use it?

I am just disgusted….

This has implications for all of us. You see in any budget, you list your revenues, then your expenses, the difference is either a deficit or a surplus….in Nigeria case it’s a deficit, a deficit of N2.2t….to fund this N2.2t, Nigeria will borrow $25m a day, yes Twenty-Five Million Dollars a day! you and I will pay for this borrowing, remember oil has crashed, that’s why you’re seeing “stamp duty taxes everywhere
The defense given is that we are borrowing to fund the capital vote, to build roads and rails, this is false. We are borrowing because the recurrent vote has been bloated with numerous repeated “N400,237” and “N1,278,682”. If the recurrent vote is properly audited and these duplication cleaned out, the difference between the revenues and expenditure will fall, and subsequently the borrowing will fall….
This budget is a fraud in intent and content, and truly I am ashamed this fraud has been presented and has been actually passed to second reading….so this will pass? We will actually spend more capital vote on one hospital than ALL teaching hospital COMBINED?