Constituency Project: Reps implement new measures to boost transparency

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By Samuel Vincent

In a bid to ensure transparency in the implementation of constituency projects, Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Monday announced new measures put in place by the Femi Gbajabiamila led 9th House.


Chairman, House Committee on Constituency Outreach, Hon. Bello Kaoje, disclosed the measures while briefing legislative correspondents on the outcomes of an agenda setting retreat of his committee in Abuja on Monday.


Kaoje said, for easy identification and tracking of constituency projects listed by members, the House is enforcing functional constituency offices for all members. Adding that Nigerians can easily verify projects in order to avert misconceptions.


Kaoje denied allegations that constituency projects are awarded to private companies owned by members.


He said the process of contract awarding is the responsibility of the executive and the public is at liberty to check the profile of benefiting companies with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).


Responding to a question on the budgetary releases for constituency projects in the 2019 budget, Kaoje said, so far, only 30% of the N60 billion has been released. 


He used the opportunity to call on the executive to improve on budgetary releases to facilitate full implementation of constituency projects.

 
According to the lawmaker, the takeaway from the retreat as contained in the communique released after were for the committee “to utilize its powers and mandate to ensure proper education and improve citizens understanding of constituency projects and effective ways of engaging lawmakers on constituency project implementation. This will build public trust and promote democratic accountability.

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“To ensure proper implementation and release of funds for members’ constituency projects in line with the demands of their constituents. The committee also commits to providing an updated database of constituency projects as allocated in the Appropriation Act annually for ease of monitoring and assessment of constituency projects, and;


“To deploy its oversight powers to ensure that members set up functional constituency offices as statutorily required. This will enable effective communication between constituents and their representatives and deepen legislative accountability.


“The Committee is committed to promoting regular engagement between constituents and their representatives to promote inclusive governance.”


Constituency projects of the National Assembly are believed by many to be shrouded in secrecy given rise to mistrust.

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