Sunday, February 12, 2012

Budget 2012: The Rewards of Insurgency (4)

This Day
10 February 2012

Nasir El-Rufai

We continue our detailed review of the 2012 Budget proposals today looking closely at the amounts earmarked for three budget heads that are connected to the security and intelligence community, and ostensibly driven by the decisions in the NSA's office. These are the allocations to the Amnesty Programme, the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) and for Maritime Security. Our objective is first to ask whether we have not become a society that rewards taking arms against the state, secondly to appreciate the huge amounts allocated and then ask the standard quantity surveying question - is Nigeria getting value for the money being spent?

These questions need asking particularly in light of some developments in the last week or so. The first was a text message sent to me from a staff member of the Budget Office observing that for the eight years between 1999 and 2007, the cumulative amounts allocated to, and controlled by the NSA's office were about N29 billion, with a brand new NSA office built out of that and more - less than what the office got allocated in just one year in 2012! Either this allocation is for something else other than security, or someone is taking an early, generous pension, the officer opined.  More questions than answers!

The second is the decision of the Goodluck Jonathan administration to hand over security, regulatory and revenue collection functions of the Federal Government in its territorial waters to a private company allegedly owned or controlled by the one-time militant known as Tompolo, in what is clearly a dodgy, crony-driven afterthought.

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