Scandal: National Assembly Detects ‘Strange’ N33bn in SDGs Allocation
How did the allocation for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the 2020 budget became 73bn from N40bn?
Was the budget for the Office of the Senior Special Assistant on SDGs padded?
PRNigeria can authoritatively report that Members of the National Assembly are set for a showdown with the Presidency and especially Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Office of the SSA on SDGs had proposed a N40billion budget for the year 2020. Surprisingly in the budget submitted to the National Assembly, additional N33billion was curiously added making the votes for the SDGs ballooning to be N77billion.
Rather than defending her SDGs budget while appearing before the National Assembly, without providing any document on the list of projects to be executed, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, simply said “this was how it came from the Presidency.”
A top Presidency source told PRNigeria that the Presidency is worried over the disturbing scandal as members of the relevant Committees in the House of Representatives and Senate have demanded for an explanation over the ‘bizarre padding’ of the SDG office’s allocation.
Already the two chambers of the National Assembly have directed the Finance and Budget Minister, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed to withhold allocations of the Office of the SDGs until the 2020 budget detail including the suspicious N33billion are provided with convincing facts.
Meanwhile, The Nation has reported that federal legislators are worried about the development when one of them said that: ‘’It was this strange inclusion (N33bn) that made us to demand the details of the budget of the SDGs. We have received allegations of duplication of projects since 2018.
“But it has been a dig-dong game between the Office of the SDGs and the Senate and House committees. We want the Executive to pay more attention to this N33billion. We want to know how it came about.
“Faced with the timeline for the passage of the Appropriation Bill, we reached an agreement with her to pass the budget and get the breakdown later. Surprisingly, she has been evading the two committees. There are text messages she sent which we can show as evidence.”
However, PRNigeria gathered that there are fears in some quarters that powerful forces in the Presidency and the national assembly may not be oblivious as to how the SDGs allocation was jerked.
They are of the opinion that the SDGs budget was ‘padded’ by government officials who may want to enrich themselves through the backdoor.
Will the Finance Minister comply with the NASS’ directives and withhold the budgetary allocations for SDGs activities? Or perhaps, will the SSA on SDGs to Mr. President, finally provide a breakdown for the strange 33bn?
Nigerians are eagerly awaiting to see how the next episode of the drama will unfold.