The Senate, yesterday, sought to provide legal backing to the provision of constituency projects in Nigeria’s annual budget by a minimum of 20 per cent.
The move was initiated with the consideration of the Constituency Projects (Budgetary Provisions) Bill, 2019, sponsored by Senator Stella Adaeze Oduah.
Oduah, in her debate, said the intention of the bill was to ensure that good governance is delivered to the people, most of whom statistics show, are composed of 70 per cent rural dwellers.
According to her, constituency project is one of the ways of attracting federal presence to rural communities in Nigerian.
“If not for these projects, majority of federal constituencies would not have a single federal project due to the lopsided nature of project allocation in the budget,” Oduah said.
Noting that these projects are not peculiar to Nigeria, Senator Oduah listed Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and India, as examples of countries where Constituency Development Fund has been institutionalized.
“Instead of vilifying the National Assembly on constituency project, people should advocate for an institutional framework for the implementation of the constituency project as it is the case in Kenya. This bill, therefore, is an attempt at providing both institutional and legislative framework for the operation of constituency projects in Nigeria, thereby making it part of our national budget,” she said.
Oduah said if passed into law, the bill would be community based in order to ensure that the benefits are available to all inhabitants of a particular area.
Oduah added that all projects under the Act would include costs related to feasibility studies, planning and design or other technical input for the project, but would not include recurrent costs of a facility.