National Assembly set to streamline execution of constituency projects

•As Ndume presents Constituencies Development Fund Bill

A bill to streamline the formulation and execution of constituency projects  in the country is in the offing.

Tagged Constituencies Development Fund Bill, 2019, it is being sponsored by Senator Ali Ndume and it passed First Reading last Tuesday.

According to a copy of the bill sighted by Sunday Tribune, the Constituencies  Development  Fund Bill 2019  seeks to introduce a regime that will streamline the management and implementation of Constituencies Development Fund in the whole federation by entrusting the execution of such projects in the hands of a proposed department, the Rural Development Department.

Findings revealed that constituency projects had often set heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, (MDAs) on collision path with the Senate and House of Representatives committees which often reject or inflate the budgetary provisions of MDAs to accommodate their interest.

Further investigations revealed that the new bill is asking the Federal Government to create a special department to manage the dedicated fund once passed into law.

The Act sets to create the Department of Rural Development in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to manage the fund to ensure that specific portion of the federal annual budget is devoted to the constituencies for the purposes of infrastructural development, wealth creation and the fight against poverty at the constituency level.

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The bill, once passed into law, shall make it mandatory for the dedication of 2.5 per cent of the annual budget to be made available to the Constituencies Development Fund.

Section 4 of the proposed Bill read in part: “There is established a Fund to be known as the Constituencies Development Fund which shall be:

(a) a national Fund consisting of moneys of an amount of not less than 2.5 % (two and half per centum) of all the Federal Government ordinary budget in every financial year;

(b) comprise any moneys accruing to or received by the department from any other source;

(c) disbursed by the Federal Government to the Department for even development and provision of rural infrastructure in the manner provided by this Act;

(d) administered by the Department of Rural Development in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development:

“Provided that 1.5 per cent (one and half per centum) and one per cent (one per centum) of the total revenue accruing to the Department under this Act shall be allocated for developmental projects at all Federal Constituencies and Senatorial Districts in the Federation respectively.”

To integrate the lawmakers into the management of the fund, the bill is advocating a separate joint committee of both chambers of National Assembly for oversight functions of the Fund.

To be named, National Assembly Joint Committee on Constituency Development Fund, consisting of a chairman and not more than twenty-five other members of the National Assembly.

“In determining the membership of the National Assembly Joint Committee, the National Assembly shall ensure proportionate representation of the political parties.”

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