• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Reps warn against non-implementation of N100bn constituency projects

The leadership of the House of Representatives on Thursday vowed to resist any attempt by the Executive to default on implementation of the N100 billion Constituency projects out of the N6.6 trillion approved for 2016 fiscal year.

Abdulrasak Namdas, chairman, House Committee on Media and Publicity issued the threat notice while reacting to statement credited to Babachir Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) titled ‘Unholy alliance’.

He explained that the “monumental failure of the Executive of successive governments to implement budgets and ensure national spread of projects through even and equitable allocation of capital votes that compelled lawmakers to insist that a meagre or paltry sum be allocated for projects in constituencies nationwide.

“Indeed it is strange for a top functionary of an APC government to oppose a policy aimed at fairness and transparency such as constituency projects. For the avoidance of doubt, skewed development is corruption and it’s propagation in an APC government will be puzzling paradox.”

He also expressed concern over the lopsidedness of various projects in the ministry of Works, Power and Housing to Lagos-Ibadan axis alone to the detriment of other parts of the country as seen in the 2016 budget proposal.

Accoreimg to him, “the main ministry’s capital budget as proposed by Fashola’s ministry was N334.3 billion out of which he allocated N89 billion to his home region while the North East, the most devastated and neglected region got a paltry N10 billion. How can anyone justify this and then turn around to oppose a token allocation of say N30 million for rural projects in the federal constituencies including the ones in the geopolitical zone that was allocated N89 billion of the ministry’s capital budget? Who is fooling who? A minister takes N89b to his region and turns around to attack N100b meant for Constituencies nation wide. Sadly, this is what the Nation is defending in its Editorial which is a perfect example of clannish conspiracy,” Namdas queried.

In a related development, Abubakar Garuba, chairman, House Committee on Constituency Outreach during an interactive session with Legislative Correspondents in Abuja, disclosed that from the N100 billion appropriated for constituency projects, N60 billion is for the 360 members of the House of Representatives while N40 billion is for the Senate.

He added that 60% of N10 billion earmarked for six States within each geopolitical zone while N1.666 billion is for each state.

According to him, some states with highest number of Local Government Areas such as Lagos and Kano were deprived from getting fair share of the Constituency fund, stressing that each of the Senators get 40% of the N1.666 billion while the sum of N125 million is for each member of the House of Representatives.

He pointed out that states like Kano and Lagos with over 20 federal constituencies each will have less to spend on individual constituency project than states like Bayelsa and Ekiti with fewer constituencies to cater for.

While clarifying issues on the handlers of the Constituency projects, Abubakar explained that the funds appropriated for Constituency projects yearly are domiciled with and executed by the executive arm of government through the various MDAs.

 KEHINDE AKINTOLA