Nigerians did not feel impact of FG’s 2016 capital projects spending – Reps

Members of the House of Representatives have said Nigerians felt no impact of N1.3trn the Federal Government claimed it spent on capital projects in 2016.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had said the government spent the money last year, stating that it was the highest in history.

Chairman, House Committee on Interior, Mr. Adams Jagaba has however said the impact of the money was not felt in the economy.

He said, “I can’t really say that there has been much impact from the money. What has been happening is that money is budgeted, but because of late releases, they are returned to the Federal Account.

“The late releases of capital allocations do not allow the executing government agencies to do many projects. In this way, there will hardly be any positive impact on the economy.”

He said such problems can only be solved by releasing budgeted funds early.

Jagaba said, “The solution is for the executive to release capital allocations on time for procurement processes to start early. Look at the 2017 budget; they are just advertising the projects in August. The processing will take the next two to three months. The question is when will the projects start? How far will they go before we come to the end of the year and how will they or make any serious impact on the lives of Nigerians?

“With late releases of funds, I don’t think the desired results have been achieved. It may be on record that the government spent N1.3tn on projects, but was the money actually released or rolled over?”

Igariwey Iduma-Enwo from Ebonyi, said the Vice President’s statement was not clear if the funds were actually released and spent on projects.

“I am of the opinion that the claim must be taken with a pinch of salt because out of the humongous sum claimed to have been released, we are not told how much was actually cash-backed and utilised. Often, these two can be strange bedfellows,” he said.

He added the the impact was not felt in the South-East and South-South, stating that all the federal roads in the zones were in a deplorable state.

He said, “My advice is twofold; I consider it a policy travesty for an administration that wishes to spend its way out of  economic recession to lump three critical infrastructure-related ministries under one command. The merger of the ministries of power, works, and housing into one is a failure to recognise the importance of the sectors to the good health of the economy, and the magnitude of challenges confronting each of them. They should be unbundled without further delay in the national interest.

“The ministry of works may have to prioritise its projects; some of the major federal road projects in the South-East, such as the Enugu-Onisha and Port Harcourt-Enugu roads, have been ongoing for close to a decade.”

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