Alleged N424 Billion Budget Padding: Farouk, Ahmed Bicker, Ministry Admits Error

Alleged N424 Billion Budget Padding: Farouk, Ahmed Bicker, Ministry Admits Error

  • The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, headed by Zainab Ahmed, has come out to clear the air over alleged budget padding
  • The Ministery of Humanitarian Affairs, headed by Sadiya Umar Farouk, said the alleged padding happened without her knowledge
  • The Finance Ministry said the insertion happened in error due to the selection of the wrong code from a drop-down menu

The bickering between two female ministers over an alleged N424 billion inserted into the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management headed by Sadiya Umar Farouk by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning may have some explanation.

The Finance Ministry, headed by Zainab Ahmed, has come out to clear the air over the alleged budget padding.

Ministers, Sadiya Umar, Zainab Ahmed, Budget
Minsiter of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouk Credit: Bloomberg / Contributor
Source: Getty Images

Insertions done in error

The Finance Ministry stated that the insertions were done in error, caused by a tabulation mistake.

According to the Finance Minister, the figures were correct and approved by relevant authorities.

According to Vanguard reports, Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, Special Adviser, Media and Communications to the Minister of Finance, stated that the possibility of spotting the error and correcting it by all relevant bodies was never utilised.

The ministry responded to accusations of budget padding, insinuating that the minister inserted the alleged amount in the Humanitarian affairs budget.

Abdullahi said the allegation is manufactured and misleading because the insertions allocated to the items and sources in the budget proposal are also baseless.

He said the wrong code was selected from the drop-down menu, resulting in being captured as Purchase of Security Equipment in the Government Integrated Financial Management Informa Budget Preparation.

Other ministries also allege budget padding

The Humanitarian Affairs Ministry had written to the Minister of Finance to clarify the alleged insertion into its 2023 Appropriation Bill.

Sadiya Farouk insisted she knew nothing about how the figure got inserted into her ministry’s budget.

But Abdullahi stated that the budget has a limited range of encoded programme and project descriptions, adding that the multilateral loads are always projects-tied with specific codes in the budget system.

He said the loans differ from envelopes given to ministries, departments and agencies.

Also, the Minister of Defence, General Bashir Magashi, told the Senate that the Finance Ministry had inserted N11 billion into his budget. At the same time, the health minister, Osagie Enahire, accused the finance ministry of padding his budget proposals.

The finance ministry regrets the error and corrections made by an appropriation committee.

Outrage over N2.4 million monthly salary per junior staff at PenCom reported that Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Finance is investigating the National Pension Commission (PenCom) salary structure and is demanding thorough scrutiny.

In an interactive session on Thursday, September 15, 2022, the panel discovered that the Commission had budgeted N12.02 billion for staff salaries and N2.5 billion for other staff costs for this year.

The lawmakers raised queries after the Director-General of PenCom, Aisha Dahiru-Umar, said the Commission has about N500 staff members but needed to pay them a competitive salary, so they don’t become compromised.


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