Senate Advocates For Increased Allocation For Constituency Projects

The Senate proposed an increment in funds allocated to lawmakers for constituency projects. However, a bill aiming to establish Constituency and Special Projects in the Annual Budget of the Federation, sponsored by Senator Babaginda Hussaini (APC, Jigawa North-West), was rejected during its consideration for a second reading on Thursday.

Lawmakers advocated for increased funds to facilitate their engagement in constituency projects and to have these funds earmarked in Nigeria’s annual budget. Constituency projects have often sparked controversy and suspicion due to their secrecy and potential misrepresentation.

In his argument, Hussaini emphasized that constituency projects were not exclusive to Nigeria and were instrumental in ensuring fair development distribution nationwide, fostering governance, and bringing democratic benefits closer to grassroots levels.

The bill gained substantial support among federal lawmakers, prompting discussions favouring it and advocating for higher allocations for constituency projects within their respective constituencies.

He said, “The provisions of this Act shall apply, as more specifically object and purpose of the bill provided for in the Act, and shall ensure that specific portions of the Federal Annual Budget are devoted to the constituencies for infrastructural development, wealth creation, social development and the fight against poverty at the constituency level.

“The list of proposed projects to be covered by this Act shall include only projects on either the Exclusive List or those on the Concurrent List to obviate against any breach of Constitutional Provisions.

“The member shall submit the project proposal to the Appropriation Committee for input into the Budget.”

Senator Mohammed Monguno, while endorsing the bill, voiced significant concerns regarding the allocated sum of N100 million designated for the constituency project during his tenure as a House of Representatives member. He lamented that the fund was severely insufficient.

He said, “As a member of the House of Reps, I got 100m which cannot do anything with the level of inflation ongoing in the country. In some places like Kano, lawmakers don’t get up to N70m because of their numbers.

“I am now in the Senate, and I don’t know how much I will get. Some people said I will get 100m or 200m, I don’t even know but that amount is grossly inadequate.

“I fully align myself with the fact that a part of the constituency would be budgeted for constituency project.”

Senator Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauchi Central) echoed the sentiments of the majority, highlighting that the constituency project was a contributing factor to why numerous lawmakers did not secure re-election to the National Assembly.

However, the bill encountered obstacles when Senator Victor Umeh (LP, Anambra Central) straightforwardly informed his fellow lawmakers that the matter of constituency projects fell outside their jurisdiction as legislators and was instead the responsibility of the executive branch. Umeh emphasized that if the lawmakers aimed to establish a legal framework for the constituency project, they would need to amend the constitution.

After deliberating on various perspectives of the argument, the Senate rejected the bill through a voice vote, with the majority opposing it.


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