… beg for more time to deliver implementable budget
Contrary to claims by the Presidency to sustain the zonal/constituency project, efforts are in top gear for computation of N100 billion projects for members of the National Assembly in the 2017 budget proposal being considered by the Senate and House of Representatives.
Despite the controversy that trailed the zonal/constituency projects triggered by the erstwhile chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, who was eventually suspended for a session, BusinessDay gathered that contracts for award of various projects in the 2016 Appropriation Act had already been advertised and awarded to contractors through various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Out of the total sum of N100 billion approved for both the Senate and members of the House of Representatives by the Presidency on annual basis, N60 billion is for the 360 members in the lower chamber while N40 billion is for the 109 senators in the upper chamber.
In the course of investigation, BusinessDay exclusively obtained a copy of the bill of quantity template used by the House of Representatives for the N100 billion zonal/constituency projects for year 2017 fiscal year.
All the lawmakers are expected to submit lists of their respective zonal/constituency projects to the House Committee on Constituency Outreach for collation and transmitted to the House Committee on Appropriation for inclusion into the 2017 Appropriation Bill.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on December 14, 2016 laid the N7.298 trillion budget proposal before the joint session of the National Assembly.
According to the document signed by Lawal Abubakar Garba, chairman, House Committee on Constituency Outreach, all the 360 lawmakers are to be pick from the list of shortlisted Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and ‘bill of quality’ for the constituency projects.
According to the internal memo dated, March 1, 2017, on the ‘construction’ sub-head, the supply and installation of 300KVA transformer attracts N32,978,793.09; hand pump or motorized borehole goes for N1,509,600; construction of two classrooms goes for N8,490,823.42; 3-classrooms goes for N11,271,240; six classrooms goes for N16 million; construction of earth dam goes for N19.800 million; construction of civic centre goes for N170,537,471.04; construction of health centre goes for N30,377,865; construction of open stalls/market goes for N5,596,128.50 while construction of culvert & grading of local road goes for N28,497,500, respectively.
The bill of quantity for ‘food items’ sub-head, shows that a bag of 50kg rice attracts N25,200; 75kg of beans attracts N32,200; 75kg of maize, millet or garri attract N26,600; Sorghum attracts N26,600 while Groundnut oil (4×3.75 litres) attracts N19,125, respectively.
According to the ‘bill of quantity of training and purchase of empowerment equipment,’ each participant shall be entitled to N350,000 for Auto-Mechanics, N365,000 for Auto-Electricians, N320,000 for Automotive-Mechatronics, N385,000 for Auto-Body work (panel beating) while N340,000 is for Auto-Spraying (Painting and Decorations).
The sum of N415,000 is for each constituent going for Vehicle Wheel Balancing and Alignment; N390,000 for Vulcanising work, N370,000 for Welding Fabrications work, N365,000 for Computer/Printing Business Centre Management while N700,000 is for Tricycle operation and management respectively.
The template also provides details of training and purchase of empowerment equipment per single participant.
According to the document, out of the N199,600 proposed for each participant, the sum of N45,000 is feeding, N4,000 is for learning material, N47,600 is for practical material, N37,200 is for honorarium, N3,000 is for file jacket and consumable, N42,000 for accommodation, N10,500 for local transport, N3,000 for transportation (to and fro from Zaria), N5,000 for training wares (PPEs), N400 for medical cost, N400 for library and sport while N1,000 is for Certificate and group picture.
On the probability of passing the budget in the second week of March 2017, feelers from the National Assembly revealed that the 2017 Appropriation bill might not be laid before the Senate and House of Representatives despite entreaties and deadlines issued by the leadership of both chambers to all the standing committees.
A member of the Body of Principal Officers in the House had earlier disclosed that the Committee set up by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, called ‘Wise Men’ was working to address the agitation over the high disparity of e at allocated to the principal officers
BusinessDay gathered that some of the 89 standing Committees which serves as sub-Committees to the House Committee on Appropriations are yet to submit the reports of the budget defence conducted as at last week Friday.
It was however gathered that most of the House of Representatives’ Committees have commenced harmonization of various reports emanating from the engagements with Ministers and Chief Executives of all the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) with their counterparts in the Senate.
In a telephone conversation with BusinessDay, Timothy Golu, chairman, House Committee on National Assembly Budget and Research Office who called for patience to enable the National Assembly fine-tune various budget proposals submitted by the MDAs, assured that the 2017 Appropriation bill will be the best so far in the history of the federal legislature.
“I can assure you that this is going to be one of the best budget so far in the history of the National Assembly. So allow us to give Nigerians a budget that is implementable.
“You recall that Mr. President called it a budget of ‘recovery and growth, but we want to give Nigerians a budget of reform and consolidation. We are not just to take it based on assumption but also to make it a budget of reality. But at present, we are still compiling it,” Golu said.
On his part, Jonathan Gaza, deputy chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs explained that the harmonisation exercise was mandatory for both chambers in order to save time.
“The directive given to all the standing committees was to harmonise with the Senate counterparts, in order to fast-track the process. The computation is still ongoing at various levels. It’s not something we can rush, but with all indications and the spate of work being done by the Appropriation and sub-committees, the budget should be concluded in a short-while.”