2022 Budget: Over 100 Constituency Projects Abandoned In 22 States — Reports
In a shocking revelation, a report by Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, has disclosed that more than 100 constituency projects in 22 states across the country have been left abandoned despite budgetary allocations.
The findings were based on an analysis of the 2022 Budget implementation done by Order Paper in partnership with Budgit, MacArthur Foundation, Tracka, among other CSOs in the country.
Vanguard reports that constituency projects are initiatives undertaken by elected members of the National Assembly in their respective constituencies, using a portion of the national budget allocated to them. These projects are meant to address pressing needs and improve the livelihoods of the constituents.
However, the investigation by the Order Paper and others has exposed a startling neglect of these projects, raising concerns about accountability and the efficient utilization of public funds.
The report furthermore revealed that of the 3,691 constituency projects in the 22 states, only 2, 037 were completed while 1,012 are still ongoing.
Also, 533 of those constituency projects have not commenced yet despite budgetary allocations for those projects.
According to the report, the affected states with abandoned projects include: Abia, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Osun, Oyo, Taraba, Imo, Adamawa, Rivers and FCT.
Speaking during a policy dialogue on parliamentary succession and constituency projects, held on Wednesday in Abuja, the head, Tracka, Ayomide Ladipo, among other things, recommended diversification of projects, Specification of Project Locations, and Transparent, Accountable, and Responsive MDA, and Needs Assessment.”
On his part, the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau I. Jibrin also reiterated the commitment of the National Assembly to partner with Civil Society Organizations and other governmental organizations to strengthen zonal intervention projects, otherwise known as constituency projects.
Represented by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Alhaji Ismail Mudashir, the Deputy President of the Senate said rural communities have been experiencing rapid development across the country courtesy of constituency projects, hence the need to sustain and improve it for the benefit of Nigerians.
“It would interest you to know that it was while I was chairing the appropriation committee at the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003 that the constituency projects were introduced to allow lawmakers to recommend projects based on the needs of their constituencies.
“Regardless of the little hitches, this practice has facilitated the spread of federal projects to the nooks and crannies of the country. But for this practice, many communities wouldn’t have felt the federal presence regarding projects. In most cases, constituency projects are based on the needs of communities as requested by the electorate through their representatives,” he said.
He said that the National Assembly is committed to ensuring the smooth implementation of the constituency and other projects in the country to address some of the challenges in the country.
Also speaking, the Chairman, House Committee of Public Accounts, Bamidele Salam, while bemoaning lack of continuity in constituency project implementation, called for more fiscal discipline to ensure that before any project is starting, the fund to complete it is available.
He said: “Even if lawmakers are not reelected the fact remains that the constituencies, the communities are there to be served by whoever occupies the public service. So, when the project is being implemented in a particular community and has not reached completion stage, it will be inappropriate for anyone who comes into office to terminate such a project or divert such a project, maybe to another community.
“There are problems of budgetary provision, there are some project that monies appropriated for them in the budget can not finish such project and they are meant to be rolled over into the subsequent appropriation year and so for example if a project cost 200 billion naira and only 70 million naira is available for this year, it means that next year they will make additional provision for such a project.
“Maybe going forward, we should have more fiscal discipline to ensure that before any project is starting, we are sure that there is enough funds to complete such a project. Yes, there may be fewer projects but we will do fewer projects that can start and complete within the period of the budgetary year.”