Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja
The House of Representatives has set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the amount of unspent constituency project funds not remitted in the last 10 years.
The House ordered the investigation following the adoption of a motion moved by the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on the need to refund unspent budgeted monies.
The ad hoc committee, chaired by Hon. Francis Agbo, was also tasked to unmasked the defaulting agencies and report back to the House for further legislative action.
In his lead debate, Hon. Abubakar Fulata emphasised the need for budget discipline and accountability, explaining that the releases of constituency and other project funds were based on total sum provided in the annual national budget.
Fulata noted that most constituency projects like other capital projects were awarded at an amount lesser than the budget provisions by government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
He added that unspent capital funds of MDAs were returned if not automatically mopped up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the end of each financial year.
The lawmaker alleged that excess funds accruing from the under-valued awards of constituency projects are not returned to the treasury.
Fulata, however, expressed concerns that those funds were misapplied to other expenditure items contrary to extant public financial management laws and regulations.
In his submission, Hon. Oluwole Oke said the MDAs have failed to realise that the Appropriation Act was a law and that its execution was also based on the Appropriation Act.
He lamented what he described as a daily occurrence that MDAs intentionally reduce the work or the value as captured in the Appropriation Act, adding that it’s high time the green chamber stood up and stopped such alleged financial rascality in the MDAs.
The House resolved that unspent money should be captured and reflected in subsequent budget.
It also “set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the amount of unspent constituency project funds not remitted in the last 10 years, identify the defaulting agencies and report back within eight weeks for further legislative action.”