The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has written to the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, advising him not to assent to the 2017 Appropriation bill, recently passed by the Senate.
In an open letter on Monday, the CACOL Chairman, Debo Adeniran, warned that the content of the budget must be scrutinised, to avoid padding.
Read the full letter below, as seen by Post-Nigeria…
OPEN CALL ON THE ACTING PRESIDENT NOT TO ASSENT TO THE 2017 APPROPRIATION BILL AS PASSED BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY UNTIL PROPER SCRUTINY AND THE EXPUNGING OF WASTEFUL SPENDINGS AND ‘PADDINGS’ IS DONE
Our organization, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, was up till December 28, 2016, known as Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders. CACOL is an aggregate of human rights, community based, and civil society organisations and individuals with anti-corruption and openness in governance agenda across Nigeria. It is a non-political, non-religious, non-sectarian, non-profit organisation.
CACOL sets for itself the tasks of promoting accountability, openness in governance and using any available means to cause relevant authorities to probe and bring to book corrupt leaders both in public and private institutions. The decision to embark on the journey was taken in 2007 in view of the need to confront, once and for all the monster that is ravaging all facets of our national life in Nigeria – Corruption.
We decided to do this with and on behalf of millions of hapless Nigerians who have by a choice that is not theirs, fallen or are potential victims of corrupt leaders. This monster torments ordinary people of Nigeria in all areas of their endeavour.
We have to confront it with a view to defeating it because it has to be done, not by ghosts or citizens of other nations but by Nigerians who have pride in themselves to be full-blooded Nigerians. Our promotion and pursuance of ‘open leadership’ is hinged on our belief that it will facilitate transparency and accountability in governance while also plugging the holes of corruption.
Your Excellency, at this point, we find it extremely pertinent to call on you to properly scrutinize the recently passed 2017 Appropriation bill for the country by the National Assembly, NASS, with the view of expunging ‘paddings’ and wasteful spending on frivolities. In particular, we call for close scrutiny of the jerking up of the original budget estimates proposed to NASS by the Executive up to the tune of 145 billion naira.
Mr. Acting President, Sir, we note from preliminary expert analysis of the Appropriation bill 2017, that apparently the budget is not sustainable considering that 24% of the whole estimates, about 1.84 trillion naira is targeted for debt servicing. This in our view will further batter our already cumbersome debt profile and will inadvertently hinder the prioritization of the fundamental needs of the country on the order of scale of preference and opportunity costs.
With deficit financing standing at N2.35trn, the debt service is about 36 per cent of our expected revenue making the capital vote of 29.30 percent just above debt service. The analysis of the budget also reveals that the N1.84trn budgeted for debt servicing is higher than the N1.34trn proposed for 10 Federal Ministries!
One of the most alarming aspect of the budget is perhaps demonstrated in the insensitiveness to the sufferings and very pressing needs of the people, made very manifest by the 13 billion naira proposed for ‘refreshments, travels and welfare’ for the NASS.
These are legislators that are too ‘embarrassed’ by their humongous remunerations such that they have to shroud it in secrecy as it were, but are yet to satiate their gluttonous tendencies and thus apparently looking for means to corruptly enrich themselves more. In this parlous state of economic recession with the accompanying pangs and pains of majority of Nigeria, this totally defiles logic and is thus unacceptable!
We call on the Executive to take a cue from the experience of the 2016 Appropriation and the padding episode so as not to fall in the same pith where the Appropriation bill 2017 would have been assented to only to discover later that the whole document was riddled with booby-traps of corruption set by the incurably depraved elements in the corridors of power.
We hasten to state unequivocally that, should the budget be assented to, as passed by legislators by the Acting President, then, it would only confirm that the Executive and the Legislature are in cahoots to continue to keep the vast majority of Nigerians in perpetually in pains.
We conclude therefore by calling on the Acting President to not assent to a budget that prioritize the insatiable greed and the self-aggrandizing ends of the political class over the existential needs of class of the downtrodden, the oppressed and exploited who are the majority.