Budget: Reps. decry duplication of projects by MDAs

The House of Representatives has decried Ministries Departments and Agencies’ (MDAs’) duplication of projects funded by international donors in their budgetary proposals.

Alhaji Babangida Ibrahim, the Chairman, House Committee on Finance, made the feelings of the house known at a retreat organised by the House Committee on appropriation in Abuja. Ibrahim, therefore, urged the executive to identify projects being funded by international donors but were re-presented by MDAs in their budget proposals.

“I am aware that as a house, we have been facing a lot of challenges when it comes to the issue of identifying international donor funds and provisions that are usually made in the budget. “We discovered that sometimes there are duplications where a budgetary provision is made by a particular MDA and for particular activities; that is equally responded to through international donor funds. “So in all the areas, we should emphasise on drawing a line between the international donor funds and budgetary provisions. “It is very important for the executive’s arm of government to identify the expected international donor funds inflow into the country, so that they will capture it for their budget. “ In other to clearly identify that certain activities are going to be covered through international donor funds and certain activities are going to be funded through appropriation.’’

He said international donor funds should be accounted for while Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) should determine the impact of appropriation on the economy and monitor releases. According to him, in the course of the committee’s oversight function, it discovered that the release of some funds was discretionally done on the basis of interest.

“We discovered that certain MDAs receive 80 per cent releases, some 30 per cent, others 50 per cent. “Surprisingly, those that received 80 per cent releases are in hundreds of billions, while those with 30 per cent releases are just in millions. “So there is need for CSOs to look into discretional releases to MDAs,’’ he said.

Ibrahim further urged MDAs to properly separate projects funded by international donors from those funded with budgetary allocations. The Chairman House Committee on Appropriation, Mustapha Dawaki, called on the executive to always carry the National Assembly along in its policy making to ensure proper implementation. Dawaki said that it was important for both arms to collaborate if frameworks that should help bring about development in the country were to be developed and implemented. He said that the current economic crisis was not peculiar to Nigeria as the world’s economy was also in recession.

He, however, urged Nigerians to take advantage of the abundant opportunities in the agriculture sector to uplift their living standard and strengthen the economy. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the retreat was organised for House of Representative Members with a task to brainstorm on ways of mobilising local funds to finance key sectors of the economy. (NAN)