Senate to legalize constituency projects - Saraki

Date: 2017-09-26

Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday said a bill to legalize constituency projects is being considered to address controversies trailing it.

Speaking during a public hearing on three bills tagged," constituency projects (budgetary provision bill), Tax incentives management bill and Companies Income Tax (Amendment) organised by the Senate committee on Finance, Saraki said the bill will ensure that every local government is covered in the allocation of projects in the annual budget.

"In some African democracies with similar presidential system as ours, like Kenya and Uganda; there exist legal and institutional frameworks for the implementation of constituency projects.

"This is to forestall controversies that might arise because of the poor understanding of the implementation process. I am hopeful this bill will aid constituency project implementation oversight and ensure its equitable distribution and execution," he said.

Saraki said it was pertinent to educate the public that this bill is not to empower the National Assembly members to take 20% of the annual budget and use it for personal consumption.

"That has always been the false understanding of constituency projects even amongst the most educated Nigerians. Members of the National Assembly merely identify the needs of their constituents and recommend to the Executive during budgeting.

"Ultimately National Assembly members have no direct control over the release of funds and all payments are processed and effected in accordance with government regulations," he said.

Also speaking, chairman of the Senate committee on finance, Senator John Enoh (PDP, Cross River) said the two other bills when passed would assist in blocking revenue leakages, enhance tax collection and stimulate the economy.

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