• Friday, May 24, 2024
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Financial autonomy: Reps task Presidency to sign COREN amendment bill

House of Representatives has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria  (COREN) (amendment) bill into law without further delay.
Toby Okechukwu, chairman, House Committee on Works who gave the charge during an oversight function to COREN headquarters in Abuja, expressed optimism that the bill when signed into law would grant the Council the financial autonomy from overdependence on annual budgetary provisions.
While giving breakdown of the Council’s budget performance, Kamila Maliki, COREN Registrar, disclosed that out of N648.5 million approved in the 2018 Appropriation Act, only N190.2 million had so far been released as of third quarter of 2018.
Maliki said the Council, which generated the sum of N722.2 million, was currently in deficit of over N2 million having exhausted its internally generated revenue on recurrent and overhead within the period under review.
He disclosed that the Council also remitted a total of N30 million to the Federation Account, as provided by the extant law.
The COREN Registrar, who applauded the delegation for the support enjoyed towards the passage of the amendment bill, informed members that the Council had desired to advance its regulatory roles with a view to attaining the membership of the International Engineering Alliance (IEA).
He described the organisation as the ‘global elite club’ of about 34 countries, including the United States, saying, “The Council was invited to the Alliance office in the US for talks and a proposal to visit COREN in Nigeria to see how we operate.”
Speaking further, Okechukwu (PDP-Enugu) urged COREN management to galvanise professional efforts towards facilitating the signing into law of the COREN Establishment (amendment) bill recently passed by the National Assembly.
He said the amendment if signed into law would ensure adequate autonomy and financial independence for the Council, as well as enable it to expand its nets toward regulating activities of both local and expatriate engineers and workmen coming into Nigeria.
“The relevance and importance of engineering are all-encompassing, given the fact that almost everything we use to aid life is engineered. You build a house; it is all about engineering, ranging from the structure to the electrical and water connection of all required engineering inputs. Likewise, cars that we drive and the road on which we drive are all products of engineering.
“So, whichever way you look, engineering is one of the most important parts of social and economic development by virtue of its creations.
“And I’m very optimistic that the amendment Bill which has received concurrence from the Senate, if signed by the President will give more power and reach to the Council in terms of its work and revenue generating capacity,” Okechukwu said.
The lawmaker explained that the Committee was statutorily empowered by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to ensure that Council utilised the appropriated funds.
While reacting to the Council’s budget performance presentation, the lawmaker said: “The deficit status of the Council after paying N30 million remittance is a course for concern. You ought to know how much you earn and how much is overhead cost before arriving at the percentage you can remit.
“And you also need to be clear if the percentage is as stated by law or based on guidelines because I’m not comfortable with a man who lives above his means,” he said.
On his part, Sunday Karimi (PDP-Kogi) told the Registrar to remove the idea that COREN was not a revenue-generating body from his subconscious, saying it must set higher targets so that it could generate enough funds to run its operations and remit to government.