By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief & Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA—It will no longer be business as usual with taking public funds in the name of Constituency Projects, as the Federal Government has planned that beginning from 2020 fiscal year, only verified constituency projects would attract payments from the treasury.
N275.678 million had been provided for the Federal Ministry of Special Duties to verify all zonal intervention and constituency projects nation-wide for payment authorisation.
In addition, N240.671 million was budgeted for the purchase of project motor vehicles for Monitoring and Evaluation, M&E, activities.
President Muhammadu Buhari had disclosed that the nation lost about N1 trillion to constituency projects in 10 years without result.
N100 billion has been set aside for the controversial constituency projects in 2020 budget of the Federal Government.
Legislators had rejected the claim that they fraudulently collect funds meant for constituency projects from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, and pocketed them, rather than implement such projects.
Their claims were that they only identified projects to be implemented in their constituencies and that the MDAs were the ones with the mandate to implement them.
However, it is common knowledge that the MDAs accused the legislators of being the ones that usually introduce contractors who acted as fronts to collect budgetary allocations for such projects without implementing them.
The Buhari administration, which also decided to financially empower the 774 local government areas in the country, has also provided N95.775 million for inspection of LGAs’ projects as well as the M&E of federal approved programmes at the third tier of government.
To spend N1.1bn on travel, welfare, others
The ministry would spend N1.116 billion on travel, welfare, miscellaneous and research and development in the 2020 fiscal year.
The amount will be drawn from the total allocation of N1.6 billion to the ministry. Of the N1.6 billion allocation, N990.1 million is for capital expenditure and N608 million for recurrent expenditure.
A breakdown of the expenditure showed that the ministry will spend N205 million on local and international travels; N208.9 million on miscellaneous; N141.5million on welfare and N515.6 million on research and development.
Other major areas of interest to the ministry were international trainings, which will gulp N7.8 million; N55 million for local training and monitoring of activities and another N10.5 million for follow up on projects.
Meanwhile, the ministry has been allocated N6.1 million for refreshment and meals, N7.3 million on production of compendium on traditional rulers, N50 million for training in agro-business for youths and women in Edo South (Edo State), while N15 million was earmarked for production of annual monitoring reports for the fiscal year.
Meanwhile, strange projects linked to senatorial districts of senators and federal constituencies of members of the House of Representatives could be easily identified across the MDAs, which mandates have no bearing with the projects.
For instance, tights commission would provide Solar Power in Jigawa
According to the 2020 budget of the Federal Hovernment, the Human Rights Commission, a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Justice, is to construct and install solar street lights in Jigawa South-West senatorial district of Jigawa State with N100 million.
Another N100 million was budgeted by the same commission for the supply of sewing and grinding machines for the empowerment of youths and women in the same senatorial district.
The two strange budget line items in the commission have as codes ERDP22582861 and ERGP22582861, respectively.
Equally strange in the commission’s budget is the line item with code ERGP22582868 for the construction of fully-equipped ICT centre in Kosofe Federal Constituency of Lagos State, for which N200 million was provided.