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N206bn Budget Padding Purely an Oversight—Finance Minister

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has described the N206 billion smuggled into the budget of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management in the 2023 Appropriation Bill as an oversight.

Mrs Ahmed was summoned to appear before the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation to explain how the budget spending for the item in the ministry was inflated by 10 times.

In a statement issued by the finance ministry, the Minister informed the lawmakers during her interactive session with them that the mistake was from the Budget Office of the Federation (BOF), which she said wrongly coded the item line.

According to her, “there was an error in the budget of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs as the N206 billion captured in the budget proposal of the ministry was wrongly coded by the Budget Office.”

“The wrong coding resulted in the item being wrongly captured as purchase of security equipment but that it had nothing to do with budget padding, but an oversight,” the statement added.

The finance ministry further said the Minister explained that “the N206 billion alleged insertion, which had generated serious reaction within the week, was for the national social safety nets project funded by the World Bank and domiciled in the Humanitarian Ministry.”

“The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management should have called the attention of the Budget Office to the anomaly, like her counterparts in other ministries,” it noted.

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