Contrary to claims by the Federal Government that it adopted a zero based template for the 2016 budget to cut costs, it actually continued in the practice of using traditional envelope budgeting system.
This was the position of the Auditor-General for the Federation (AGF), Samuel Ukura yesterday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Public Accounts for budget Defence.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had while presenting this year’s N6.08trillion budget estimates before a joint session of the National Assembly on December 22, 2015, said the zero based budget system has been adopted.
But the Auditor-General countered the president’s claim.
According to Mr. Ukura, although the earlier intention by the Buhari administration was to adopt zero based budgeting as a template, but realities on ground, later forced it to adopt the usual envelope based budgeting.
He cited, for instance, the N2.9bn budget estimates of his office for this year, saying it was not arrived at through zero budgeting but that it was handed over to the office as an envelope by the Ministry of Finance.
“Budgets of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government this year are all envelope based and not zero based as it has been the case over the years, including that of my Office, which is even largely done for us by the supervising ministry”, he said.
Explaining zero-based budgeting system, Mr. Ukura said, “it is assumed that such expenditure does not exist, you start from zero and justify why that expenditure must be used”.