While the dust is yet to settle on the award of an N30 million contract for the construction of a mosque in Borno State by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, stakeholders have again uncovered budgetary allocation of N630 million for the construction of public toilets in rural areas.
This was amid calls by farmers to the government to help cushion the skyrocketing prices of farm inputs so as to reduce their production costs and eventually reduce food prices in the market.
The disclosure by stakeholders is contained in the 2022 budget analysis conducted by Action Aid Nigeria.
The stakeholders said, “the line item ERGP22175065, titled construction of public toilets in public schools and markets in rural areas, which is a new project of N630 million will need further explanation and justification for the said amount”.
While the Ministry has been criticised for not addressing the plight of Nigerian farmers, ActionAid stressed the need for FMARD to stick to its core responsibility of coordination, supervision and regulation.
They further stressed the need for relevant capital projects relating to infrastructure to have locations to engender tracking and monitoring.
They gave an instance of the N2.3 billion allocated for ERGP30174874 irrigation and all-year-round farming that has no further information regarding where the infrastructure will be installed.
While commending the government for increasing allocation for capital expenditure as against recurrent expenditure, the stakeholders lamented that most of the capital line items are repetitions of line items stated in previous budgets without target numbers and locations.
They further pointed out that of the N291.3billion budget allocation to the ministry, about N185.1 billion or 63percent was allocated to the main ministry headquarters in Abuja while the over 40 agencies under the ministry, including the Universities of Agriculture, share 106.2 billion or 37percent.
The analysis stated that stakeholders are of the opinion that the sharing ratio is unfair and should be adjusted so that the implementing agencies can have more funds to execute projects, while the main Ministry focuses on its fundamental roles.
They however pointed out that many of the MDAs have not learned to create quality capital projects, as careful perusal of some of the line items of the MDAs under FMARD showed a high level of repetition of projects proposed in previous years.
They canvassed that MDAs, particularly research institutions should have innovative proposals on developing new varieties of crops and livestock and transferring innovative technologies to farmers.