• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Senate tackles Fashola’s claim on budgetary allocations to road construction

Babatunde Fashola

The Senate has debunked a statement credited to the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, that the National Assembly should be held responsible for the dilapidated state of Federal roads in Benue State.

The upper chamber described the statement as a “fallacy of the highest order.”

The minister was quoted to have made the statement in his office in Abuja during a courtesy call by retired Generals and ‘other leaders of thought’ from Benue South Senatorial District led by Air Vice Marshal Morgan Monday who came to complain about the deplorable state of roads in the senatorial district.

BusinessDay recalls that Fashola during the 2021 budget defence before the Senate Committee on Works had said clash of interests had at different times made the ministry to undergo fresh redesigning of road master plans, thereby causing slow pace of work.

He accused the senators of writing letters to the presidency, which sometimes compelled the ministry to change from road rehabilitation to road reconstruction.

But speaking through its Chairman of Media Committee, Senator Ajibola Basiru, the Senate said the National Assembly could not and should not be held responsible for the dilapidated state of roads whether in Benue state or any part of the country.

The senate said it became necessary to disabuse the minds of the unsuspecting public about the acts of the National Assembly.

The statement said, “The records are needed to be set right so that the two arms of government should not be seen as working at cross purposes in the course of delivering dividends and good governance to electorates.

“Putting the records straight, the Senate gave the figures of the 2020 proposal for capital expenditure as 265, 868 037,093 billion Naira by the Executive which the National Assembly passed. The Executive later brought revised allocation of 256, 734,983,667 billion Naira which we also appropriated.

“As we talk, even in the budget proposal for 2021, the Executive proposed a capital expenditure of 363, 266, 425, 976 billion Naira.

“The Senate then wonder where the Hon. Minister got his figure of 600 billion Naira which he said was the figure proposed to the National Assembly by his ministry and which was allegedly not supported or approved by the National Assembly.”

“The Senate therefore invites Nigerians and specifically the Ministers guests from Benue State South Senatorial District to note that ‘figures do not lie’.”

The Senate listed three road constructions which Ajibola noted were ongoing in the Benue South to be Oju -Adum Okuku road at N 91,180 000, Oturko Township road at N357 200, 000 and Oju/ Loko – Oweto bridge at a cost of N357, 200, 000.

The statement said the minister’s allusion to prioritising constituency projects over other projects, was made to set the National Assembly on a collision course with the people.

“It should be emphasised, therefore, that never has allocations specifically meant for other projects ever been diverted to constituency projects as constituency projects are having allocations in the budget,” the statement added.

The Senate said that execution of the much talked about constituency projects lied within the Executive Arm of government through its various ministries, agencies and parastatals.