Zonal Intervention Projects A Must- Dogara

Speaker Yakubu Dogara

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has said that no amount of blackmail from any quarters will force the National Assembly to abandon Zonal Intervention Projects because it is the tool with which they ensure equity in project allocation nationwide.

He added that though the instrumentality of zonal intervention projects has been grossly misunderstood and terribly maligned, it does not change the fact that it has brought development across all federal constituencies and federal presence to remote and forgotten areas in the country.

Hon Dogara  made the statements while speaking at the public hearing organised by the Joint Committees of Appropriation of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Speaker said, “Over the years, the efforts of legislators, especially at the National Assembly to inject equity in budget patronage nationwide through the instrumentality of zonal intervention projects has been grossly misunderstood and terribly maligned mostly by those who are deliberately ignorant and have concocted their own concept of constituency projects which they apply as their yardstick of measurement.

“I make bold to state that, but for Zonal Intervention Projects, many communities in Nigeria would never have enjoyed any form of Federal Government patronage. Put differently, zonal intervention projects represent the only evidence of Federal government presence in most rural communities of Nigeria.

“Consequently, as representatives of the people, no amount of blackmail from any quarters will force us to abandon our resolve to ensure even development across all federal constituencies.”

He implored stakeholders, and indeed all Nigerians who are showing more interest in the budget making process, to pay greater attention to the implementation of approved budget
and not the size because only effective budget implementation determines its quality.

“Demand strict accountability from all elected officials on this matter. Jacob Lew captured the issue succinctly when he said, ‘The budget is not just a collection of numbers, but an expression of our values and aspirations.’  The citizen must therefore insist on the total realisation of these values and aspirations rather than merely the collection of figures,” he charged.

See full speech below;

REMARKS BY RT HONORABLE YAKUBU DOGARA, SPEAKER HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2ND NATIONAL BUDGET HEARING ORGANIZED BY THE JOINT COMMITTEES OF APPROPRIATION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON 27TH & 28TH MARCH, 2018 AT THE  CONFERENCE ROOM 022,  SENATE NEW BUILDING, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY , ABUJA

PROTOCOLS:

It is my honour and privilege to welcome us all to this crucial Public Hearing on the 2018 National Budget, organized jointly by the Committees on Appropriation of the Senate and House of Representatives. This is the second in the series of National Annual budget Hearings put together by the National Assembly and I wish to commend everyone present for making out time to participate.

2.   Public Hearing is the platform which the Legislature provides for citizens to participate in governance. This is done pursuant to the legislature’s role of representation on the one hand and in the fulfilment of the Constitutional injunction under the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of state Policy in Section 14 (2) (c) of the Constitution which provides that the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured.

3.      Before now, the citizen had become more accustomed with Public Hearing on Bills on the making of laws other than Appropriation. While every law made by the National Assembly is important, many citizens conform with lawful conduct as of norm rather than compliance with legislations. Appropriation is however the piece of legislation that affects the life and wellbeing of every citizen irrespective of his/her awareness or the absence of it.

4.      As Representatives of the people, legislators are constantly in touch with their constituents and are therefore in a position to appreciate their peculiar priority needs which they can then articulate in the budget. This notwithstanding, an African adage says ” The best rendition of a song is from the mouth of the composer” , and therefore the citizen’s personal opinion on the budget in fora such as this remains critical in spite of the fact that he/her enjoys representation in Parliament.

5.      Over the years, the efforts of legislators, especially at the National Assembly to inject equity in budget patronage nationwide through the instrumentality of zonal intervention projects has been grossly misunderstood and terribly maligned mostly by those who are deliberately ignorant and have concocted their own concept of constituency projects which they apply as their yardstick of measurement. I make bold to State that, but for Zonal Intervention projects, many communities in Nigeria would never have enjoyed any form of Federal Government patronage. Put differently, zonal intervention projects represent the only evidence of Federal government presence in most rural communities of Nigeria. Consequently, as representatives of the people, no amount of blackmail from any quarters will force us to abandon our resolve to ensure even development across all Federal Constituencies.

6.      I should like once again to state that the quality of a budget is not in its size or content but in it’s effective implementation. I would therefore implore stakeholders, and indeed all Nigerians, that as they are beginning to show interest in the budget making process, they should show even greater interest in the implementation of approved budgets. They must demand strict accountability from all elected officials on this matter. Jacob Lew captured the issue succinctly when he said, “The budget is not just a collection of numbers, but an expression of our values and aspirations.”  The citizen must therefore insist on the total realization of these values and aspirations rather than merely the collection of figures.

7.      I am confident that at this forum, everyone will work assiduously toward, not only ensuring an equitable collection of figures but more so, the full realization of those expressed values and aspirations through efficient and effective budget implementation.

8.      I wish us all, a most effective Budget 2018 Hearing.

9.      God bless you all and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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