Business Hilights

Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Dogara Y

FG’s Housing Department sent ‘2018 budget estimates’ for 2019—Reps

Ad 2
Ad 3

Members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Urban Development and Regional Planning on Thursday made a startling and embarrassing discovery on the contents of the presented 2019 budget proposal by the Urban and Regional Development Department of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
The revelation of the House Committee clearly showed that the department had been in the habit of cutting and pasting from previous year’s budget and presenting same for passage every year with just minimal changes in figures.
Key observations showed that apart from being generally untidy with avoidable errors, there were embarrassing similarities between the items in the 2018 and 2019 budgets of the department which forced the Committee members to see the presented 2019 estimates as mere ‘copy and paste’ without the needed works before presenting same before the National Assembly.
Trouble started Thursday when the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mr Mustapha Shehuri led senior officials in the Housing section of the ministry before the committee to assess the budgetary performance of the ministry in 2018 and defend the proposal for 2019.
However, shortly after opening the floor for scrutiny, Committee members started picking embarrassing holes from the entire document which suggests that no serious work may have been done but copy and paste.
Members of the committee clearly observed that some projects listed in 2018 were same with those listed in 2018 but with different costs.
Accordingly, criticisms surged as a radical member of the Committee, Mr Fijabi Akinlade, pointed out that “I think this your 2019 and 2018 budgets, if you want to check them properly, is ‘cut and paste.’ What you have just done actually is to change the figures.
Giving a clear example to buttress his argument, Akinlade point blankly said “If you go to Number 17 of 2018, the same thing; Number 18, the same thing; Number 19, the same thing; 20, the same thing; all the way down. So, are you looking to repeat the same projects of 2018 in 2019? For example, Number 20 says ‘Slum Identification and Mapping in Selected Cities, in Abuja and environ; Number 20 of 2019 is exactly the same thing. Somebody just cut and paste, and put different amounts in it.”
The aggrieved lawmaker further observed that the erroneous but sanctionable practice of copy and paste has given unnecessary rooms for repeat of certain projects in some states and suggested for clinical spread of projects going forward.
Continuing, he said “If you go through all the items from 1 to 34, it seems that Urban and Regional Development Department is for some particular states in the country, namely Abuja, Ondo, Kogi, and Kwara. I will suggest that they have to go and re-work (it) to capture the entire 36 states of the Federation and FCT in the project proposal.”
However, to save time, the committee decided to go in for closed door joint review and rework of the copy and paste infested proposal.

Business Hilights is an online news channel conceptualized and structured to report and track on a daily basis; latest developments in critical business sectors to serve as a one stop news gateway for governments, foreign and indigenous investors.