Law­mak­ers, SGF clash over con­stituency projects

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Is­mail Mu­dashir

The Sec­re­tary to the Gov­ern­ment of the Fed­er­a­tion(SGF), Mr Babachir David Lawal, yes­ter­day said the coun­try’s earn­ing had dropped by 40 per­cent.

This is just as the SGF and the law­mak­ers clashed over funds for con­stituency projects.

He spoke when he ap­peared be­fore the joint com­mit­tees of the Se­nate on Ap­pro­pri­a­tion, Fi­nance and Ethics, Priv­i­leges and Pub­lic Pe­ti­tions over the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the con­stituency projects.

While re­it­er­at­ing the com­mit­ment of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment the 2016 bud­get, he said, “The body is will­ing but the soul is weak”.

“The daily crude oil pro­jec­tion of 2.2m at one time went down to 800,000 bar­rels and con­se­quent upon this it will be dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment the projects. It be­hoves all politi­cians to ex­plain this sit­u­a­tion to Nige­ri­ans,” he said.

To this ef­fect, he said the re­lease of funds for the ex­e­cu­tion of projects would be pri­or­i­tized.

Reaf­firm­ing his state­ment on the con­stituency projects, he said the story pub­lished in Daily Trust was cor­rect.

“Like the leg­is­la­ture, the ex­ec­u­tive is an­swer­able to the elec­torate. Like the leg­is­la­ture, mem­bers of the ex­ec­u­tive can­vassed for votes. If the rev­enue of the gov­ern­ment im­proves, the con­stituency projects would be im­ple­mented,” he said.

In his con­tri­bu­tion, the chair­man of the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Ap­pro­pri­a­tion, Se­na­tor Dan­juma Goje, said the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the bud­get should be done across board in the face of fund­ing chal­lenge.

“The bud­get you are im­ple­ment­ing is a law, the fact that the pres­i­dent has as­sented to it shows that he has agreed with it, other­wise, he would have re­turned it to us. If in the course of im­ple­ment­ing the bud­get, the need to re­view the bud­get up­ward or down­ward arises, let it be. If you felt that the con­stituency projects should not be there, for­malise it,” he said.

He said con­stituency projects are.. Such as cul­vert, ru­ral elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, bore holes, class rooms or even so­lar Street lights, they will like it, as the con­struc­tion

At the be­gin­ning of the hear­ing, the Sen­a­tors clashed with the SGF when he said he was in­vited in bad faith.

“The words in the in­vi­ta­tion that, ‘You are ad­vised to avoid ex­cuses please’ makes me to feel that I was in­vited in bad faith. We should re­spect each other’s roles and we should be given ad­e­quate time be­cause the of­fice of the SGF is not an idle one, “he said.

An­gered by the SGF state­ment, the Sen­a­tors cho­rused that he should with­draw his state­ment.

Chair­man of the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Ethics, Priv­i­leges and Pub­lic Pe­ti­tions, Se­na­tor Sa­muel Anyanwu who chaired the ses­sion in­sisted that the SGF with­draw the state­ment, say­ing, “It is the wish of the mem­bers that sec­tion of your state­ment be with­drawn”.

But the SGF in his re­sponse asked the Sen­a­tors to with­draw a por­tion in the in­vi­ta­tion let­ter they sent to him.

“I ex­pect that you with­draw that you with­draw that sec­tion in your in­vi­ta­tion let­ter too. If you co­erce me into with­draw­ing it, I will, but I will put it on record that you co­erce me into do­ing so,” he said.

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