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Only 30% of constituency projects funds released in 2019 – Reps

Lawmakers begin investigation of donor funds diversion

House of Representatives Committee on Constituency Outreach on Monday disclosed that only 30 percent of the budgetary allocation to constituency projects was released in the 2019 financial year.

Bello Kaoje, chairman, House Committee on Constituency Outreach who disclosed this while briefing journalists on the outcome of the Committee’s recent retreat in Owerri, called on the executive arm to ensure adequate release of constituency projects funds for effective execution and implementation.

Kaoje said at the end of the retreat that the Committee resolved to utilise its powers and mandate to ensure proper education and improve citizens understanding of constituency projects and effective ways of engaging lawmakers on constituency project implementation, as this would build public trust and promote democratic accountability.

According to Kaoje, the Committee also resolved: “To ensure proper implementation and release of funds for members’ constituency projects in line with the demands of their constituents. The committee also commits to providing an updated database of constituency projects as allocated in the Appropriation Act annually for ease of monitoring and assessment of constituency projects.

“To deploy its oversight powers to ensure that members set up functional constituency offices as statutorily required. This will enable effective communication between constituents and their representatives and deepen legislative accountability. The Committee is committed to promoting regular engagement between constituents and their representatives to promote inclusive governance.”

The chairman added that the retreat among others highlighted the mandate of the Committee to include: “Ensuring the maintenance of constituency offices by members; liaising with appropriate Ministries, Departments and Agencies’ (MDAs) responsible for the coordination of constituency development projects; monitoring and supervising constituency projects, and reporting to the House; and annual budget estimates.

“Discussions focused on oversight, constituency projects for inclusive governance, constituency engagement and democratic accountability in Nigeria”.

 

James Kwen, Abuja