The 2016 budget brouhaha continues. President Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly set up a panel to investigate allegations that the budget was padded with all manner of fictitious expenditure, including rent for his official residence, Aso Rock, as well as errors, double entries and so on.
The National Assembly, earlier this week, suspended deliberations on the budget and the farce around the budget would sound fanciful even for a Nollywood movie.
Buhari presented the budget in December last year, claiming: “This Budget represents a major step in delivering a new opportunity for Nigeria. It demonstrates our confident optimism that despite the challenging times, we have the will, resourcefulness and commitment to deliver prosperity to our people.”
Shortly after it was presented, reports started filtering into the media about “mistakes” in the budget and that the president was seeking to “withdraw” it. After denials from the government, the Senate declared that the budget was “missing”. Then the proposed budget was “withdrawn” to make some “revisions” due to the fall in oil prices.
Now, it has become clear that even the “revised” budget is riddled with “padding” and errors. When these were exposed, the government and its propagandists sought to shift the blame to civil servants that allegedly drafted the budget, referring to them as a “budget mafia”.
But as with everything about this disjointed government, they can’t even coordinate their lies with previous ones. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said in October that his role is “to ensure that everyone that is involved in economic activities is coordinated in such a way that the president is fully briefed of what everyone is doing, such that we are all on the same page and to make it easier for the president to make decisions.”
He did no such thing for a budget that the president presented to the National Assembly in December. It is clear that the president did not read it, nor was he properly briefed about it. This is a monumental failure for all, from president down to those below him, and shifting blame to the guys that did the photocopying won’t work.
As this government continues to flounder and try and lie its way out of each crisis, it is becoming quite clear that they are not fit to deliver the “change” and the “prosperity to our people” that they promised.