By Tordue Salem
The House of Representatives on Tuesday threatened statutory sanctions against Ministries and Agencies (MDAS) that have failed in their implementation of projects for which funds have been provided in the budget.
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila who gave the warning in his resumption speech to members at the resumed plenary.
He said failure to implement budget, is a betrayal of the public trust that undermines faith in the government and frustrates good faith efforts at national development.
Gbajabiamila stressed that the Appropriation Act “is not merely a policy document or a statement of intent, but it is the law of the land that binds all Nigerians, particularly those in government”.
According to him, “Any expenditure of public funds outside of the Appropriation Act is a crime, as is a failure to implement programmes and projects for which funds have been allocated and provided”.
The Speaker assured that the “House will work with the Executive to develop and implement measures to support people that need help and ensure that the most vulnerable Nigerians can get through the reforms in the oil and power sectors with dignity”.
He said the House will exercise its oversight ” to hold people’s feet to the fire and deliver outcomes that are worthy of the sacrifices government is asking of the Nigerian people”.
Gbajabiamila announced the appointment of Henry Nwawuba (PDP-Imo) as Chairman of an Adhoc Committee to guide implementation of the updated Legislative Agenda across the Committees and other institutions of the House of Representatives.
“We updated our Agenda to help us respond more effectively to the unique and far-reaching effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on our economy, on our national security and the general wellbeing of all our people.
“We must each always remember that this document is a contract with the people who sent us here and as such, our readiness and determination to keep our end of this bargain must never be in doubt” he added.
The Speaker also noted that the House has received and will shorty begin consideration of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as part of the efforts to achieve wholesale reform of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
He said: “This is not the first time that we have initiated the Petroleum Industry Bill or similar efforts at broad oil and gas sector reform in the National Assembly. I assure all Nigerians that we in the 9th House of Representatives fully intend to succeed this time around”.