FG to Track Donor Funds through Annual Budgets


Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

To make for effective national planning, funds from donor agencies into the country for ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) will now be reflected in annual budgets.

Although the modalities for going about it is still unclear, a top government official told THISDAY on telephone Saturday that there currently exists no complete record of what comes into the country as donor funds to the MDAs.

According to him, funds extended to the MDAs through donor agencies are not captured in the budgets, hence such funds are not officially tied to projects captured in annual budgets.

In order to streamline the budgeting process, avoid duplication of resources, he stated that donor funds will now be tracked by the federal government.

The essence, the source said, is to make for effective national planning, and ensure proper documentation of inflows into the MDAs of government.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma recently hinted at a public function that donor funds will henceforth be captured in annual budgets, but did not elaborate. It is still hazy how the government intends to pursue this objective.

Udoma had also recently advised development partners to ensure that their development initiatives in Nigeria align with the nation’s objectives, pointing out that although the county would like some foreign aid, its major focus was generating enough revenue internally.

He stated that Nigeria would appreciate the assistance of the United States of America in providing technical support for the development of transportation infrastructure and agricultural sector as the country intensifies work on its economy Udoma argued that although Nigeria is looking inwards for more revenue, it would also appreciate external support especially in the form of technical assistance.

The minister stated that the development initiatives of development partners in Nigeria should align with the objectives of the country.

Meanwhile, the 2015 Audited Report of federal MDAs indicates that over the years, the funds in the Ecological, Stabilisation and Development of Natural Resources were never invested, according to extant laws.

“Audit evidence showed that the funds always have favourable balances at the end of each year. It will be economically beneficial to invest the amounts in these funds and the interest accruing there from would reduce the level of domestic debts that had escalated to trillions of naira.

“In the same vein, if these funds were invested, the amounts of federal government bonds floated with the accrued charges and the effect on CRF (Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) balances would have also reduced; also, the interest accruing from investing the balances would result in more funds for the three tiers of governments,” the report, recently pasted on the website of the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation said.

The report also observed the non-establishment of an agency to administer the Ecological Fund, saying the audit revealed that amounts totaling N596,137,481,709.94 were deducted from the Federation Account to the Ecological Fund between June 1999 and December 2015.