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Budget Padding: Kowa Calls For #OPENNASS, Wants Spendings Published



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KOWA Political Party calls for #OPENNASS in view of the startling allegations for padded budget ongoing at the National Assembly….

In a statement issued to NewsWireNGR, the National Youth Leader of the party, Jude ‘Feranmi said, “as a matter of fact, citizens have a right to the information of what items are listed and what amounts are penned for such items in the budget of the National Assembly”..

Read complete statement issued below..

In what is now an embarrassing turn of shamelessness, our party is studying and paying close attention to the unravellings and name-callings that has gripped the lower chambers of the National Assembly. It is however unsurprising to us that such allegations if found true could have happened under an administration that claims to be committed to a CHANGE agenda and in a budget titled “Budget of Change”.

It now appears, day after day and headline after headline that the anti-corruption agenda of this administration is a farce and an election tool that was just used to gain power and dumped at the polling booths immediately after election results were announced and declared in favour of the APC. With every step taken to curb anti-corruption or recover looted funds, two steps are taken backward in ensuring that the disease of anti-corruption that is claimed to be on a mission to kill Nigeria is sustained.

We consider this a responsibility on our part to remind the incumbent government formed by the All Progressives Congress that the fight against corruption and illicit practices cannot be fought and won in the DARK.

The outcry by the citizens of the Federal Republic after the Presentation of the Budget by the Executive led by civil society organizations from which BudgIT deserves a special mention was possible because of the access that citizens have to the details of the budget.

Constituency Projects supervised by representatives and allocated millions and in some cases tens of billions of naira are not trackable by citizens or interested organizations such an environment presents the best opportunity anywhere in the world for corruption to fester. It is evident that most representatives do not implement these constituency projects in their various constitencies and those that do spend a tiny fraction of allocated funds to do so.

It is even baffling to say the least that even house of representatives members themselves do not have access to this document, leaving a situation where principal officers and chairmen of committees can go ahead for months colluding together to allocate billions to themselves without the knowledge of other representatives.

The Open Government Partnership which Nigeria has indicated interest in joining is a step in the right direction, but an indication of interest without the explicit initiative to implement such practice is futile in and of itself. We are aware that the office of the Minister of Justice has begun to finally move to consider the National Action Plans as drafted by civil society organizations. We would implore that the objectives of the OpenNASS campaign be included as one of the priority areas to be focused on.

“Seek to amend the Constitution to require local governments to publish their meeting minutes, service performance data and items of spending over N10M”

The sentence quoted above was lifted from the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress. We implore the members of the 8th National Assembly whose majority members are members of the APC to consider the spirit of this clause and invoke that into their own practices.

If spendings of over N10 million naira are to be published by local governments, shouldn’t spendings of over N100 Billion be published by the National Assembly too?

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