Buhari makes good on his threat, demotes 184 budget “paddlers”

Earlier this year, President Buhari stated he had never heard the word ‘budget padding’ until the budget was fraudulently tampered with. “Most Nigerians, likewise I, have never. And this is because the perpetrators of the act had been milking the nation via that way and succeeding. In fact, the main reason this dastardly act came to the open is because the third group who wanted to exploit the passage of the budget as a bargaining tool, have become very desperate and was looking for an easy way to achieve their goals,” said Buhari. However he promised to get to the bottom of this.

On Thursday, President Muhammad Buhari who, in the past few months, has received heavy criticism due to the altered figures in the 2016 budget by some top civil servants, made good his threat to deal mercilessly with them. No fewer than 184 top budget officials were removed from budget duties and demoted to establishments that have little or nothing to do with the country’s budget, as a punishment for their roles in tampering with this year’s fiscal document.

Twenty-two top officials of the budget office were reported to have also been affected by the massive redeployment and demotion while others were altogether removed from budget-related duties and moved to other Ministries, Departments and Agencies. All the affected officers, according to the directive, are to begin work at their new locations on or before the close of work today.

Such must never happen…

As laudable as this effort is coming from the presidency, the onerous task would be to put certain measures in place to avoid such an ignominious re-occurrence and save the nation from public disgrace in the future.

Things the president needs to do include: whenever a budget is prepared and gone through the meticulous scrutiny of the Ministry of Budget and Planning and the budget office, the president should set up a team of budget experts mandated with the duty to peruse the entire provisions of the budget for the president.

Secondly, before the president presents the budget to the National Assembly, he should make the budget accessible to all Nigerians- so if there is any padding, it will be uncovered easily.

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