The House of Representatives on Tuesday frowned at the failure of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to refund unspent constituency projects cash to the public treasury.
The House constituted a 15-member ad-hoc committee headed by Francis Agbo to investigate how the MDAs disbursed N1 trillion budgeted for constituency projects in the past 10 years.
The resolution followed a motion by the Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, Abubakar Fulata, Iduma Igariwey, Wole Oke, Chinedu Ogah and Isiaka Ibrahim.
The investigation is to determine how the N1trillion was spent and how much was not.
The committee is also to identify the MDAs that failed to return unspent funds.
While stressing the urgent need for budget discipline and accountability, the House directed all MDAs to ensure the remittance of unspent funds on or before December 31, to the treasury.
Moving the motion on behalf of the other sponsors, Fulata said the release of constituency and other project funds was based on the total sum provided in the annual national budget.
He said the House was aware that most constituency projects, like other capital projects, were awarded at amounts less than the budget provisions recommended by MDAs.
He added that unspent capital funds of MDAs was returned or rather automatically mopped up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the end of each financial year.
He added that excess funds accruing from the under-valued awards of constituency projects were usually not returned to the treasury at the end of the financial year.
The lawmaker expressed concern that funds not returned was misapplied contrary to the extant public financial management laws and regulations.
Fulata pointed out that in the last 10 years, there had been instances where the government funded projects 100 per cent, adding that the highest release for constituency projects in the last five years has been 70 per cent of budgeted funds.
He drew members attention to the request by President Muhammadu Buhari, to roll over 60 per cent of the 2019 budget to 2020 since only 40 per cent of it was executed.
Falata stated that in the 2019 budget, no kobo had been released for constituency projects.
“I was therefore surprised to hear the President say that N1 trillion had been spent on constituency projects in the last 10 years,” he told his colleagues.
He alleged that most constituency project funds were being diverted by most by some MDAs without approval.
Co-sponsor of the motion, Mr. Oke, said many MDAs failed to realise that the Appropriation Act was a law based on the Procurement Act.
He also said the MDAs failed to realise that the implementation of the Appropriation Act must be based on the relevant sections of the Public Procurement Act, adding that failure to comply with the law was a serious offence.
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