Lawmakers, SGF clash over constituency projects
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.