The Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Tuesday confirmed including a total of N1.7 trillion in the budgets of some federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in the 2023 budget.
Mrs Ahmed, who spoke while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, said it was the amount of loan-tied projects her ministry decided to include in 14 implementing agencies to improve transparency.
She refuted allegations that the budgets of the MDAs were padded.
The committee called for the hearing in reaction to media reports that some MDAs accused the ministry of finance of inserting projects in their budgets without their consent.
Daily Trust newspaper had reported that the National Universities Commission (NUC), Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development accused the finance ministry of inserting the projects in their budgets.
These allegations, it said, were made during budget sessions at the Senate.
Responding to the allegation of padding, Mrs Ahmed explained that the federal government now domiciles project-tied loans in concerned MDAs.
“These loans were previously not fully captured in the FGN budget; only the provisions for counterpart funds and debt service were included in the FGN budget.
“To improve transparency and the comprehensiveness of the FGN budget, consistent with global best practice, we decided to fully capture these project-tied loans in the FGN budget,” she said.
She stressed that “all these projects which are now the subject of controversy were included in the budgets of these MDAs which were transmitted to the supervising ministers for their review and feedback on 4 October, 2022 before the presentation to both the FEC and NASS.”