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Rep decries late passage of budget

House Of Representatives

House Of Representatives

CHAIRMAN of the House of Representatives Committee on Works, Mr. Toby Okechukwu, yesterday decried late passage of the Appropriation Bills over the years.

Speaking with reporters in Abuja, he said the 2016 budget would suffer the same fate of late passage into law going by the fact that with less than two months to the end of the year, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) is yet to be presented to the National Assembly.

According to him: “I am worried that the MTEF has not come yet and what it portends is that the passage of the 2015 bill might take a longer time. So, we need to depart from what used to happen where the past budgets were passed in April and then we begin to mop up money in November or December and that is not one fiscal year literally even though the Executive is given a window to do certain operations for up to six months but it is a new government and it should be a new scenario.

Okechukwu, who disclosed that the government is indebted to road contractors about N300 billion, specifically canvassed the need for a road authority under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) as it is obtained in other countries that could ensure key and viable roads are well-funded and catered for in the interest of the citizenry.

Lamenting the state of disrepair of roads in the polity, he noted: “Presently, the ministry is owing about N300 billion and the roads in Nigeria are not looking good.

So, government has to adopt policies and strategies to ensure that there is adequate funding in the sector. In other jurisdiction they ensure that some kind of independent funding comes up for such an important ministry like that of works.

“The road authority does not presuppose going back to the toll-gates era. When it is agreed that it is a source of funding, then it has to be compared with other ways of funding roads. But what we are saying is let us get an outfit within Nigeria laws that makes it possible for them to operate maximally and optimise the potentials and prospects that are in the sector.”



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