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Tambuwal, Okonjo-Iweala Seek Bill To Tackle Abandonment Of National Projects

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ABUJA, July 09, (THEWILL) - Speaker of Nigeria’s Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal on Monday encouraged the introduction of a bill to compel ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to implement national budgets as a way of halting the disturbing trend of failed and abandoned projects.

He was speaking at a two-day stakeholders’ forum in Abuja, themed Towards a More Effective Budget Implementation in Nigeria, which was organised by the lower chamber’s Committee on Appropriations.

Tambuwal disclosed that the National Assembly would give speedy passage to the bill to enhance budget implementation, also calling for synergy between the Executive and the Legislature in order to enhance budget implementation in the country.

“Over the years, the degree of implementation of budgets has fallen to very low levels. It is time we changed from the so-called cash-based budgeting system to performance-based budgeting,” he charged.

“We hope that all arms of government, especially the Legislature and the Executive will learn to build the kind of synergy that will encourage budget implementation and reduce poverty in the land.”

He observed that the National Assembly has a duty to consider and approve the budget while its formulation and implementation remain the prerogative of the Executive.

“The Presidential Projects Assessment Committee estimated that over 11,886 projects valued at N7.7 trillion were abandoned after government had spent N2.2 trillion on them, and N9 trillion is required to complete the abandoned projects,” he lamented. “This is unsupportable and we hope this workshop will be able to find ways of stopping such wastages in future by advocating performance budgeting.”

Also speaking at the event, coordinating minister for the economy and minister of finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala noted that executive proposal and budgets passed by the National Assembly would ensure effective implementation of the budget.

Represented by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Mr. Danladi Kifasi, the minister called for collaboration between the two arms of government for effective budget implementation.

“I must state that there are still areas where we can improve on the relationship so as to have a more implementable budget. We believe that continued collaboration between the Legislature and Executive would ensure that we are able to deliver quality service to Nigerians,” she said, also attributing the recurrent poor budget implementation to poor planning and conceptualisation by MDAs.

Earlier, chairman of the committee, Hon. John Enoh (PDP-Cross River) made a case for budget formulation and implementation, saying they are critical to addressing huge infrastructural challenges currently facing the country in areas of power and transport.

He agreed that monitoring of budget implementation had been weak and spending agencies were not held accountable for delivering output with funds allocated to them.

“We believe that effective budget implementation is the bedrock of good governance and poverty alleviation,” he said. “We will continue to use the several budget tracking templates at our disposal to fulfill the critical mandate of monitoring the progress made in the implementation of the budget.”

Enoh pledged the commitment of the committee to discharging its duty of in-depth review of budget proposals and effective monitoring of budget implementation, saying the House would use its powers of appropriation responsibly to the benefit of the economy and for service to the populace.