We Provide Free Support For Budget, Finance Ministries, Says Onigbinde

The Co-Founder of BudgIT, Mr Seun Onigbinde, speaks on his resignation as a Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Budget.

 

The Co-Founder of BudgIT, Mr Seun Onigbinde, says despite his resignation as a Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Budget, he still provides free consultancy services to the ministry.

Onigbinde made this revelation during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday.

“We have always provided support for the Budget Office, for the Ministry of Budget and Planning, for Finance, for Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), for the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC).

“We provide consultancy support for them at no fee. At time, we get international donors. So we can continue with that framework to support rather than me permanently out in the ministry,” he said.

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Reacting to why he quit few days after accepting the offer, Onigbinde noted that his appointment was to advise the Minister of Budget (State), Mr Clement Agba.

He explained that prior to his employment, his organisation has been offerring support to the Federal Government on how to improve on the nation’s budgeting system.

Speaking further he said: “Look at BudgIT, what we have done for the last eight years is to advocate on the issue of budget reform.”

When asked why he decided to officially end his services as technical adviser, Onigbinde insisted that the action wasn’t as a result of the outrage that trailed his appointment.

While slamming critics for misunderstanding his motive, he said “trust within the system, in terms of how this whole news has filtered into the system, I could not guarantee that we had this mutual trust about the work I wanted to do.”

Before resigning three days ago, the Buhari media Organisation (BMO) issued a statement, condemning Onigbinde’s appointment.

The group lamented that Onigbinde lacks honour and integrity for accepting to serve in a government he criticised.

BudgIT Director, Seun Onigbinde Gets Political Appointment

A file photo of Seun Onigbinde. Photo: Twitter- @seunonigbinde.

 

 

The director and co-founder of BudgIT, Mr Seun Onigbinde, has been appointed by the Federal Government as a technical adviser at Ministry of Budget and National Planning.

Onigbinde is one of the long-term critics of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The data analyst disclosed this through his Medium account on Friday, as there are reports that his Twitter account has been deactivated.

He said, “Friends, I have accepted to take up an advisory role underwritten by an international development agency for an initial period of six months.

“I believe that to guard the reputation of BudgIT, I need to take an operational break and make my new position public.”

“In a technical advisory role, I shall be supporting the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, along the issues of budget reform, development planning, and revenue growth.

“It is similar to a task Joseph Agunbiade (my BudgIT co-founder) and I worked on in 2013–14, under the DFID-FEPAR program for the National Assembly Budget and Research Office,” Onigbinde added.

‘Feeding Bottle Federalism’ Is Nigeria’s Biggest Problem – Seun Onigbinde

'Feeding Bottle Federalism' Nigeria's Biggest Problem – Seun Onigbinde
File photo

The co-founder of BudgIT, Mr Seun Onigbinde, has identified ‘feeding bottle federalism’ as the major problem Nigeria is battling.

The data analyst expressed this view on Tuesday, a day after President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to governors to address the plight of workers in their states by paying salaries.

Civil servants and pensioners in many states are still being owed months of salaries and pensions, a situation which saddens the President who expected that the Paris Club refunds disbursed to states would have eased the situation.

“What you call the ‘feeding bottle federalism’ that we have as a country, I think that’s the biggest problem,” Onigbinde said on Channels Television’s Politics Today from the United States via Skype.

“The problem won’t abate because the dependence of states on federal allocation is a problem here. I think that’s what President Muhammadu Buhari needs to face and tackle squarely,” he added.

“So, even if you pay your backlog, what happens now when the allocations that are given to states are not still enough to pay workers’ salaries?”

The BudgIT co-founder said while some state governments have been trying to pay outstanding salaries, reports revealed that about 10 states were still struggling to settle their workers.

“According to a recent research, at least 10 states are still owing workers salaries. We are certain that Benue and Abia are still owing workers salaries and in the South-West, there are still backlogs in Ondo, Oyo,” he said.

“For Osun; Osun has adopted what they call ‘salary modulation’, but there are still pensioners who are still owed for several months. So across the nation, even in Niger, Nasarawa, there are still some workers who are being owed.”

Government Urged To Embrace Data Democracy To End Corruption

Data-DemocracyNigeria cannot be successful in the fight against corruption until it democratises data and breaks the wall of secrecy that surrounds public finance.

This was one of the strong messages at ‘The Platform Abuja 2016’ held on Saturday.

It is a global media event that focuses on facilitating growth in Nigeria through personal capacities and productivity.

Poor Data Culture

According to the Co-founder of BudgIT, Seun Onigbinde, Nigeria’s poor data culture had made diversification of the economy an uphill task.

He stressed the need for a data revolution, pointing out that corruption would remain unless data were made available and accessible.

Resource persons at the event, one of whom was the Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch, Mitchell Elegbe, also harped on tapping overlooked resources to shift the nation’s economy away from reliance on crude oil revenue.

The-Platform
Over three thousand persons attended The Platform Abuja 2016

While some spoke on agriculture which they emphasised could be a perfect option to oil if well explored others stressed the need to explore digital technology that could give Nigerians the number of employment government was unable to provide in the time frame Nigerians required them.

Alibaba
Alibaba stressed the need for rich Nigerians to invest in the entertainment industry

Arts and entertainment is another sector that a Nigerian Comedian, Alibaba, said could bring billions of foreign exchange to Nigeria through tourism.

For over five hours, they brainstormed to encourage more than 3,000 youths present, to finally rise up to the task of empowering themselves while waiting for government to do their bit.

It is not the first time that the fall in oil price would be tagged an advantage for Nigeria’s economy but an agro-business expert, the National Coordinator, Nigeria Agribusiness Group, Emmanuel Ijewere, asserted that a crop like cassava could give Nigeria biofuel, ethanol and oil, but expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that it had remained untapped because the nation depended so much on crude oil sales.

The issues highlighted at the forum serve as a call to action to the youths of Nigeria to look around them, find niches to fill and build business that would create jobs for majority of Nigerians until government is set to play its part.