By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives on Tuesday vowed to tackles Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAS) over failed to implement projects and programmes for which funds have been provided in the budget.
The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila who gave this disclosed this in his address to the House members at the resumed plenary after annual recess said non implementation of budget is a betrayal of the public trust that undermines faith in the government and frustrates good faith efforts at national development.
Gbajabiamila stressed that the Appropriation Act is not merely a policy document or a statement of intent but it is the law of the land that binds all Nigerians, particularly those in government.
“Any expenditure of public funds outside of the Appropriation Act is a crime, as is a failure to implement programmes and projects for which funds have been allocated and provided”, he said.
The Speaker assured that the House will work with the Executive to develop and implement measures to support people that need help and ensure that the most vulnerable Nigerians can get through the reforms in the oil and power sectors with dignity.
He said the House will exercise its oversight authority to hold people’s feet to the fire and deliver outcomes that are worthy of the sacrifices government is asking of the Nigerian people.
Gbajabiamila announced the appointment of Henry Nwawuba (PDP, Imo) as Chairman of an Adhoc Committee to guide implementation of the updated Legislative Agenda across the Committees and other institutions of the House of Representatives.
“We updated our Agenda to help us respond more effectively to the unique and far-reaching effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on our economy, on our national security and the general wellbeing of all our people.
“We must each always remember that this document is a contract with the people who sent us here and as such, our readiness and determination to keep our end of this bargain must never be in doubt” he added.
The Speaker also noted that the House has received and will shorty begin consideration of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as part of the efforts to achieve wholesale reform of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
He said: “This is not the first time that we have initiated the Petroleum Industry Bill or similar efforts at broad oil and gas sector reform in the National Assembly. I assure all Nigerians that we in the 9th House of Representatives fully intend to succeed this time around”.
“In the time we have been away from plenary, the Committees of the House have been engaging with stakeholders to achieve progress on several priority initiatives. Members have been meeting to work out strategies and develop plans for legislative action to address the many challenges of governance that we continue to face in the country.
“We recognise that some of these reforms will increase the living costs for many at a time when people are struggling to cover the costs of daily life. We will work with the Executive to develop and implement measures to support people that need help and ensure that the most vulnerable among us can get through this interregnum with dignity. Even more importantly, the House will exercise our oversight authority to hold people’s feet to the fire and deliver outcomes that are worthy of the sacrifices we are asking of the Nigerian people.
“Implementation Framework, requires that we change the way we operate.
From now on, motions and proposed bills that speak to the priorities set out in the Legislative Agenda will receive precedence in the House. The only exceptions will be for emergencies and matters of urgent national importance that require immediate action”, the Speaker said.