By Henry Umoru – Abuja
The Senate Wednesday came hard on the Management team of the Border Communities Development Agency ( BCDA), following the refusal of the latter to state locations for the N3.626billion capital projects the agency proposed for the 2020 fiscal year.
Subsequently, the senate gave the BCDA, twenty-four hours to intimate it with detailed information regarding the project as well as the location.
The revelation came when the Executive Secretary of the agency, Captain Junaid Abdullahi appeared to defend the 2020 budget of the agency as well as the performance of the 2018 and 2019 budget appropriated for the agency.
Trouble started when Abdullahi was making his presentation, specifically the N3.626billion capital component in the 2020 Budget when Senators observed that locations for the various projects proposed were not indicated in the written submissions made.
Against this backdrop, the Senator Olalekan Mustapha, APC, Ogun East led Senate Committee on States and Local Governments, asked the agency to forward to it within 24 hours, locations for the various projects it had listed to be executed by the proposed N3.626billion capital component of its 2020 budget.
In his remarks, the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Francis Ezenwa Onyewuchi (PDP Imo East) who noted that listing projects without locations was unacceptable in budget consideration let alone approval, said, “Mr Chairman, from the paper before us, indicating that locations are not indicated for many of the capital projects proposed here, there is no way this can be acceptable I will suggest they make a representation with the required detailed information.”
On his part, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Lekan Mustapha who asked the agency to include locations of its proposed projects to be executed by the N3.626bn capital votes, said, “You will have to do this within 24 hours, that is, between today and tomorrow if you want the capital component of your 2020 budget to be captured .
“There is no alternative for the agency on this unacceptable commissions than to supply the required information latest within the stated period because, in line with time table already set by both chambers of the National Assembly, every committee is expected to submit report on budgetary proposals of agencies under it to the Appropriation Committee latest by Tuesday, 29th October 2019.”
On his part, Senator Hassan Mohammed Gusau (PDP Zamfara Central) who required that information must be supplied by him as declared by the Committee Chairman, said, “The matter on ground, requires you and other top management officials, to tell your spouses not to disturb you at this critical time, or else, the agency’s capital budget, will suffer for it.”
At the end of the day, the BCDA boss who promised to comply with the directive within the stated period explained to the committee members that the omissions were not intentional but typographical.
Some the capital projects listed by the agency to be executed with N3.626bn capital component of its 2020 budget without locations are supply of Equipment/Furnishing of Skills Acquisition Training Centre N17million, Provision of 1 NO.5 M3/H Water Treatment Plants N17million, Procurement of 5MVA, 66KV, 300KVA, 33KV and 500KVA, 33/415 Transformers N43million.
Others are, construction of a block of Six Classrooms with Headmaster / Staff Offices, Toilet Water Borehole and Overhead Tank N42million, Construction of 2no Solar Powered Boreholes/Provision for Micro Cluster Farming for Cultivation of Fish, Vegetables and Fruits and Provision of 4 Hectares Tree Shelter Belt N50million etc.