The Civic Media Lab’s scrutiny of the 2018 Budget has exposed more disturbing albeit interesting details, one of which is the line item: AGRICICULTURAL FACILITIES.
The Civic Media Lab discovered the line item, ‘Rehabilitation/Repairs-Agricicultural Facilities’, in 24 departments across six ministries. Twelve projects proposed by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR) and eight projects proposed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) have the highest mentions of the heading. The federal ministries of industry, trade and investment; labour and employment; science and Technology, as well as Interior, have one department each with the seemingly wrongly-worded heading.
For instance, looking at the 2018 budget approved for the National Directorate of Employment, an agency under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the conspicuous subheading: REHABILITATION/REPAIRS-AGRICICULTURAL FACILITIES. The budget is divided into two broad categories: recurrent expenditure and capital expenditure. The recurrent axis deals with overheads, salaries and other costs that reoccur annually. Within the capital expenditure domain, however, there are some constantly occurring subheads.
The capital expenditure heading has three major subheads: ‘Fixed Assets Purchased’, ‘Construction/Provision’ and ‘Rehabilitation/Repairs’. Rehabilitation/Repairs-Agricicultural Facilities is under the third subhead mentioned. Here is how it looks in the other MDAs:
Under ‘Construction/Provision’, there is a subhead titled ‘Construction/Provision-Agricultural Facilities’. This is why Civic Media Lab was surprised to discover the coinage, ‘Agricicultural’ further down.
Under the ‘Agricicultural’ heading, FMARD’s headquarters assigned projects worth N409million; Institute of Agricultural Training and Research, Ibadan, assigned N10million; while the National Agric, Extension Research Liaison Office classed projects valued at N18million under the subcategory. Also, the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure, placed projects priced at N65million; Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries, Baga, puts line items with a combined cost of N76million and Nigeria Stored Products Research Institute, Ilorin, assigned projects valued at N26million into the sub-classification.
Under FMARD, the National Agriculture Seeds Council voted projects worth N91million, while the Nigeria Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research voted in N51million for the same ‘Agricicultural’ Facilities.
In the same vein, all the departments in FMWR voted hundreds of millions under the same ‘Agricicultural’ heading, namely: FMWR’s headquarters – N676million, Anambra/Imo River Basin Development Authority (RBDA) – N212million, Benin/Owena RBDA – N16million, Chad Basin RBDA – N680million, Cross River RBDA – N810million, Hadejia-Jama’are RBDA – N730million, Osun/Ogun RBDA – N20million, Lower Niger RBDA – N20million, Sokoto Rima RBDA – N128million, Upper Benue RBDA – N695million, Upper Niger RBDA – N185million and Gurara Water Management Authority – N313million.
The four departments across four other ministries with projects under the same ‘Agricicultural’ heading are: Federal Ministry of Interior, Nigeria Prison Service – N911million, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, National Directorate of Employment (NDE) – N78million. Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Abuja – N17million and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigeria Commodity Exchange – N225million.
In total, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources not only has all its departments making provision for Rehabilitation/Repairs under ‘Agricicultural’ facilities, it devotes the highest amount which stands at N4.5billion to this questionable category.
Next is the Ministry of Interior with N911million set aside in the Prison Service, while the Ministry of Agriculture has N748million of its total budget under the said class of projects. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment allocated N225million to fund this group of projects through the Nigeria Commodity Exchange, while the Ministry of Labour and Employment, through the Directorate of Employment got projects worth N78million under the classification.
The Ministry of Science and Technology props the rest with N17million assigned to the class through the Biotechnology Development Agency.
With similar observations made in budgets as far back as 2014, SaharaReporters reached out to Afolabi Juwon, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Budget Office, to understand why the word ‘Agricicultural’ is used in the budget, even in departments that do not have the direct mandate of carrying out agricultural rehabilitation and repairs. After stating that the word ‘agricicultural’ refers to agric-related items, he promised to connect us with scheduling officers in the ministries identified. However, as of the time of publication, the promise had not been fulfilled.
The Civic Media Lab and SaharaReporters have discovered patterns of misaligned projects, poorly-described line items, duplicated descriptions and figures in Nigeria’s appropriation document from 2014 to the proposed budget currently lying at the National Assembly awaiting passage.