Lawmakers establish legal framework for constituency projects

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

The Nigerian House of Representatives is set to establish a legal framework for the execution of Zonal/Constituency intervention projects to ensure even development of Federal Constituencies across the country.

The Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara made the revelation at the public hearing on the Bill for An Act to Establish the Constituencies Development Fund, which took place at the National Assembly.

Dogara, represented by Deputy Chief Whip, Pally Iriase said the Bill seeks to streamline the management and implementation of constituency’s development fund in the country to ensure fairness and effective implementation.

He said the decisions on the projects to be implemented will, however, remain with the various constituencies through the Constituency Development Project Advisory Committees which will be set up for each Federal Constituency and Senatorial district.

“One of the objectives of this Bill is to put in place a mechanism that will enhance the participation of citizens in the judicious utilisation of funds that would bring about socio-economic development with accountability in our various constituencies.” the Speaker said.

Intervention Projects
The Bill when passed into law is expected to address all concerns over Constituency/ Zonal intervention Projects which is supposed to be a vehicle for rural and urban development.

Dogara stressed that “the bill will also encourage grassroots participation in governance, thereby “creating a legal framework for the administration, management, monitoring and evaluation of funds in the constituencies.”

In his remarks, the Chairman House Committee on Constituency Outreach, Lawal Abubakar stressed the need for robust legal framework and mechanism to promote greater transparency and accountability in the use of Constituency Development Fund, CDF, as an instrument of development and advancement of collective good.

He said the National Assembly and the House of Representatives will continue to work towards improving the lives of Nigerians in line with the 8th National Assembly’s Legislative Agenda.

Meanwhile the House at the Plenary passed five bills, including the Bill for the establishment of North East Development Commission.

The Commission is to coordinate the rehabilitation and reconstruction of North East Nigeria, devastated by the activities of insurgents Boko Haram, to pave way for the return of over two million people displaced by the insurgency.

Petroleum Industry Bill
However, the long awaited Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) has suffered a major setback on the floor of the House of Representatives during the plenary session, as members unanimously resolved to defer the consideration of the three related bills till next week Tuesday.

The resolution was passed sequel to the observation made by the Majority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, who emphasised the need for members to digest the contents of the legislative frameworks, given the importance of the bills.

The bill is to provide for the Governance and Institutional Framework for the Petroleum Industry and to establish a fiscal framework that encourages further investment in the petroleum industry while increasing accruable revenues to the Nigerian Government.

Other two related bills stepped down are: ‘A bill for an Act for legislative framework relating to petroleum producing host community’s participation, cost and benefit sharing among government, petroleum exploration companies and petroleum Host Communities and the bill and memorandum on legal and regulatory framework, institutions and regulatory authorities for the operations of the upstream and downstream sectors, to provide for the establishment of the legal and regulatory framework and Authorities as well as guidelines for the operations of the upstream and downstream sectors of the Nigerian petroleum industry.

However, a bill for an Act to provide for Governance and Institutional Framework for the Petroleum Industry and a bill for an Act to provide for the governance and institutional framework for the Petroleum Industry transmitted by the Senate were consolidated.

Sammie Idika