ABUJA—THE Federal Government, yesterday, said constituency projects, which the members of the national and state assemblies scramble to put in the budget every fiscal year, had been an avenue for embezzlement and diversion of funds.
Meanwhile, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, and Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, disagreed over the existence and implementation of constituency projects by the legislature.
The issue of constituency projects was the topic of the one-day summit organised by the House of Representatives and Conference of Speakers in collaboration with the National Institute for Legislative Studies, NILS, which centred on political representation, constituency and zonal intervention services, in Abuja, yesterday.
Speaking at the summit, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, noted that in the past, constituency projects had been the conduit pipe through which lawmakers embezzled money, but that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had come to change the practice.
He said: “I say this because we must avoid the risk of crowded projects where legislators at the national level are made strictly to implement constituency projects that involve primary healthcare centres, which are for the local governments.”
He said though the issue of providing projects for the people was part of the change mantra of the current administration, government will not be complacent seeing money voted for projects go into individual pockets.
According to him, constituency projects are “in line with the change mantra of the government, which is determined to execute projects that will impact positively on the lives of people of every federal constituency and senatorial district in executable and evenly distributed manner.
“I therefore charge all the stakeholders and participants at this summit to extensively brainstorm on how best to fully deliver, utilize and extend constituency projects in the best interest of the people and come up with appropriate recommendations to government on how best to proceed.”