2018 BUDGET STANDOFF: Stop Misleading Nigerians, Constituency Project Is A Global Best Practice

Close-up of a Calculator and Pen on a Financial Newspaper. Blue-toned.

As the issue of the 2018 budget continue to generate discussion amongst Nigerians, Hon. TJ Yusuf have told Nigerians to expect the budget soon but insisted that the controversial ‘Constituency Projects’ will not be removed.

Speaking exclusively to TMNews.ng the honourable representing Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency of Kogi state, Nigerians have been misinformed about the true nature of constituency projects and this is the same thing these ‘spin doctors’ are doing claiming that the Senate had invited the IGP specifically to answer questions only relating to Senator Dino Melaye.

According to him, “The IGP was invited by the Senate to explain what the Nigeria Police is doing about the incessant killings all over the country, but what these spin doctors have spread out there in the media is that the IGP was invited over Sen. Dino’s arrest, which is not the fact because the IGP was invited to come and debrief the Parliament on the state of insecurity in the country,” he said.

Describing such narratives as unfortunate and misleading, he revealed that these statements need to be put right before Nigerians. “What they are saying about the IGP’s invitation is the same way Nigerian’s have always been misinformed about the ‘Constituency Project’ carried out by parliamentarians.

I can tell you that what we call constituency project in Nigeria is known as ‘Pork Barrel’ in the US and the same goes for our counterparts in Kenya. In fact in Kenya you cannot win elections as a parliamentarian if you don’t execute it, which means it is a global best practice.”

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market further revealed that, here in Nigeria politicians who go after cheap political scores, try to deride the legislature by making most issues look like it is a Nigerian thing and therefore it is wrong.

A lot of Nigerians remain concerned over the non passage of the budget as raised by the executive but the Kogi born lawmaker quickly allayed these fears insisting that the 2017 budget is still on course as it is tied to the 2017/2018 fiscal year.

“In America where government processes are more transparent, it is the Parliament that awards the contracts, but in Nigeria it is the executive that awards these contracts but they still blame Parliament for everything they fail to get right. Let us not forget that out of an over N7 trillion 2017 budget, constituency project for the legislators amount to just N100 billion.”

A search by TMNews.ng reveals that ‘Pork-barrel’ politics is a process that legislators use to obtain funding from a central government to finance projects benefiting the legislators’ local constituents. The benefits of such projects typically do not extend beyond a legislator’s constituency, despite the fact that funding was obtained through taxation of the larger geographic region. This form of political patronage helps attract campaign contributions and the support of local voters.

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