In a bid to eliminate loopholes and leakages already seen in the 2017 budget, Senator Dino Melaye is advocating for the use of spiritual means to scrutinise the budget.
He stated this in Abuja while speaking to the media on the 2017 budget presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Melaye said that the 2017 budget is not different from previous budgets brought before the National Assembly due to the many frivolous needs that were criminally planted into it with the intention to steal from the national treasury.
He noted that most Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal government buy fuel and service generators every year for several hundreds of millions of Naira; adding that money sent on entertainment and feeding was also outrageous and “unholy.”
The senator asked if civil servants in the MDAs ate “Gucci Eba,” or “Prada rice” or “louboutin beans” to warrant an appropriation of sums of money that chase billions for entertainment and feeding alone.
He lamented that while the National Assembly was trying to eliminate areas like insurance, purchase of computers, training and re-training of personnel that serve as conduit for looting the coffers of government, new loopholes are been created by staff of MDAs.
Melaye said: “I am of the opinion there’s nothing to rush. Let’s delay this budget and look at it with very celestial and holy eyes, if possible with application of anointing oil, to make sure that we get to the bottom of it so that we can get a Christian and Islamic budget that will be useful to the people of this country.
“Those of us in power must operate with the fear of God and believe that there is a day of reckoning that we will account to God what we made out of the responsibility and position God has given to us.
“Going through the budget 2017, I can also tell you that there is no great departure from the past, because most of the areas that money is criminally planted into the budget, with the intention to steal, are still there. You will find out that most Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) will buy generator every year in each budget.
“In other places you will see fueling and servicing of generators running into hundreds of millions. You will begin to wonder how is that going to happen. Entertainment and feeding and all those stuffs; you will see hundreds of millions of Naira.
“I mean, are they going to eat “Gucci Eba”, or “Prada rice” or “louboutin beans”? I mean you will begin to wonder why anyone will be this wicked to put these outrageous figures against these issues.
“It used to be areas like training and re-training; areas like insurance. These are areas we have seen year in year out. We have seen purchase or computers and servicing of computers in most of the MDA every year; servicing of computers and photocopiers running to hundreds of millions. And if actually you buy these computers, then there should be no space in any of the MDA to even contain the computers, because every year, you see running over hundreds of millions.
“These are areas I expect that by the grace of God, the National Assembly should completely delete from the budget. That is why you find out that year in, year out; recurrent and overheads are spent 100 percent meanwhile the capital that has something to do with the poor people – the masses of this country is usually extremely low due to the various issues of procurement and bureaucracy.
“I chair the FCT committee of the Senate, and I can tell you that about N29 billion was appropriated by the senate in 2016 budget to the federal capital territory. As I explain to you in February, FCT has only accessed N10 billion that is about 34 percent of budget performance. That is F9 by marking standard anywhere in the world.
“So what we are saying in essence is that there must be a holistic approach and sincerity of heart and purpose and commitment on the part of the National Assembly to critically look at the budget this time around.”