Group asks federal lawmakers to suspend constituency projects for one year

The Network for Best Practice and Integrity in Leadership (NEBPRIL) has called on the national assembly to suspend constituency projects for one year and channel the funds into critical sectors.

In a letter to the national assembly leadership, NEBPRIL said funds for the projects should be diverted to critical sectors to help Nigeria’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

The initiative also asked lawmakers to strengthen their oversight functions and to redirect savings from the removal of fuel
subsidy to healthcare and e-learning infrastructure.

NEBPRIL asked the national assembly to vote against the proposed 365-day 60th independence anniversary celebrations, describing such festivity as “ludicrous” amid the effects of the pandemic.

“The dwindling economic condition makes it imperative for government to begin to devise creative means to manage scarce resources and make conscious efforts to block every avenue of possible wastage,” it said in the letter signed by Victor Ogene, its chairman.

“Now that government has stopped subsidy payment, NEBPRIL requests that NASS applies its legislative powers on budgeting, to ensure that the huge savings from this new policy, is warehoused as special fund and invested in tackling headlong, the crisis in healthcare infrastructure and capacity building in the  sector over the next three years.

“That e-learning infrastructure and e-teaching capacity development, in our educational sector, which were brought to the fore by Covid-19 pandemic, receive special budgetary attention from the subsidy removal savings, in order to align with the new development, occasioned by the pandemic.

“That National Assembly, in a gesture of goodwill, leading by example and in appreciation of the current economic exigency, should consider the suspension of constituency projects for a period of one year, starting from the 2021 budget; the allocation for the projects (intentioned to impact on constituents across the nation), should rather, be redirected for the same purpose, but in providing specific, purpose-driven, legacy critical health infrastructure, across the six geopolitical zones; that would be attributed to NASS, as its post-covid special contribution in bringing solution to the health sector.

“NEBPRIL also implores NASS leadership to take deliberate steps to reinvigorate and strengthen the legislative oversight functions and activities, going forward, to reflect the current realities, in order to ensure that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are made more accountable, and that rules of public service are upheld, in line with their mandates and rules of engagement.”

NEBPRIL also asked the national assembly to vote against the proposed bill to establish an agency for the management of recovered proceeds of crime, saying it amounts to “unnecessary duplicity and waste of scarce resources, especially coming at a time of crushing economic condition”.

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