Fashola Blasts House Of Rep, Holds Them Responsible For Slow Improvement In The Power Sector

Babatunde Raji Fashola, Former governor of Lagos and present minister for Power, works and housing has vented his frustration to the House of Representatives accusing them of distracting him from carrying out his work.

He revealed that the frequent probes by the House of Representatives on issues affecting the ministry, was distracting him.

While facing an investigation on the transmission company of Nigeria (TCN) organized by the House committee on power, Fashola said;

 “We closed here last week and we are resuming this week with this committee. Committees of the House also will be asking us of our budget performance and we just need to work in the office so that we can also perform. So, I think there’s a sense here that I respectfully ask you to sufficiently use this time so we can also work to serve the Nigerian people.

We have a letter dated December 20, 2017, and that letter was issued under the name of one Nnamdi D. Onuigwe Esqr, Committee Clerk. And, it’s from the House of Representatives, saying the House has constituted an ad hoc committee on the need to investigate the Fiscal Responsibility and Procurement Acts by the TCN. It was pursuant to House resolution 114/ADHOT/TCN2 of December 20.”

Now, we were waiting to be invited by the ad hoc committee when we got this letter asking us to come today, signed by Ibrahim Sidi, Committee Clerk pursuant to House resolution 189 of December 5, 2017. Although, it’s headed as “Need To facilitate Swift action on management of TCN Electric Power Reforms, it goes in the body to ask us to come and explain to this investigative committee the interim management of TCN on the delay in the implementation of projects such as the Nigerian Electricity Gas Improvement project that will improve power sector in Nigeria.

So, I seek clarification in order to assist the committee in its work and if it’s possible, to harmonize all of what we want to do together, bearing in mind that this House substantially is handling some possibly over-lapping issues.

 

Imposition Negates Good Governance – House Of Rep Aspirant

A House of Representative aspirant from Ikire Federal Constituency, Mr. Wale Opejin has described imposition of unqualified candidates among political parties in Nigeria as the bane of good governance across the country.

While speaking with OSUN DEFENDER recently, he said imposition has been a major threat to political development in the country, particularly in all the states of the federation.

Mr. Opejin mentioned that the issue of imposition has led to poor development in the states because it does not allow for the best candidate to emerge.

He added that there are many best candidates suitable for the political development of the states but nowadays, candidates are chosen based on sentiments which are not capable of bringing development to the state and country in general.

He lamented the rate at which religious and ethnic sentiment have become the yardstick for measuring the qualification of candidate rather than looking at their antecedent and qualification for the office they seek to occupy.

According to him, over 90 per cent of political office holders in 1999 and 2003 were imposed on the electorates, but in recent times, the electorates have begun to find alternatives and it is hopeful that before the 2019 general election imposition would have been eliminated or reduced to the barest minimal.

“I hope party leaders across political divides would realise that the electorates are getting more sophisticated daily and are seeing imposition as a problem that must be tackled and dealt with before it leads to something more devastating than loss of votes in future elections”, Opejin added.

Speaking on the issue of young people seeking political offices, the Ikire-born politician disclosed that the youth have right to seek what is theirs, but added that the economic situation across the country is not friendly with their demands.

He sought a political atmosphere that would be economically viable for youths to take over the political leadership of the country in line with the challenges of modern times, which would not be solved without their inputs.

Rep Members Protest Against 2018 Budget Presentation

The President asked to be allowed to lay the estimates on Tuesday, November 7.

His request was contained in a letter that the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, read to members during plenary in Abuja.

At the Senate, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, read the letter to senators.
“Pursuant to Section 81 of the 1999 Constitution, may I crave the kind indulgence of the National Assembly to grant me the slot of 1400hrs (2pm) on Tuesday, 7th of November, 2017 to formally address a joint session and lay before the National Assembly the estimates of the 2018 budget proposal,” Buhari wrote.

However, at the House, Dogara had hardly completed reading the letter when lawmakers started protesting.

Amid the shouts of “no,” “no,” some members were heard asking, “What about the 2017 budget? Have they implemented the 2017 budget? No, take it (letter) back.”

Others also said they would prefer to receive the President by 11 am and not 2pm.

But, Dogara reminded the lawmakers that under the constitution, they could not refuse to receive the appropriation bill from the President.

He noted that while the constitution provided that the President “shall cause the estimates of the budget to be prepared and laid” before the legislature, it did not provide that lawmakers could refuse to receive it.

“Honourable colleagues, unfortunately, the constitution does not provide that we can refuse to receive the budget estimates,” the speaker added and admitted Buhari’s letter.

The Federal Government plans to spend about N8.6tn next year, a jump of about 15 per cent from the N7.44tn budgeted for the current year.

The figures were contained in the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, which Buhari had earlier sent to the National Assembly in compliance with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.

The House also asked the Federal Government to stop the proposed restructuring of the Growth and Employment Project and the alleged diversion of the remaining $35m from its account to other uses.

The resolution followed a motion moved by a member from Benue State, Mr. Teseer Mark-Gbillah.
The GEM is an empowerment project conceptualized by the government under the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment aimed at job creation and increased non-oil growth through the empowerment of 4,000 Small and Medium Enterprises across the country.

The House noted that in only three months of appointing a coordinator to run the project, the officer was being paid $4.9m per month.

Besides, the coordinator is alleged to be initiating to restructure the project to move the balance of $35m into the funding of a parallel SME fund.

The House specifically directed the Minister of Finance, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the GEM Project Team and the World Bank to halt the planned withdrawal of the $35m.

The House also ordered an investigation into the matter to be conducted within six weeks.

Source: Polictics

House Of Reps To Establish Framework For Smooth Transfer Of Power

The House of Representatives has commenced the process of establishing a legal framework for “Smooth and Orderly transfer of Power’’ from one government to another.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, made this known in Abuja on Tuesday at a public hearing on Justice organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Justice.

Dogara, who was represented by Leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajiabiamila, said that a Bill had been raised on the framework.

He said that the purpose of the bill was to promote the orderly transfer of power within the executive.

He explained that the transfer was in connection with the expiration of the term of office of a president and the inauguration of his successor.

Dogara said, “the bill provides that at any general election for the office of the President, the incumbent president, if not re-elected, shall within two weeks of the declaration of the president-elect, provide space for not more than 10 persons.

“The 10 persons will be those designated by the president-elect to begin a review and analysis of the budgetary expenditures during the tenure of the current president.’’

He said that the committee shall also review all necessary documents as may be requested by the president-elect’s transition team, to acquire a working knowledge of the various offices.

The offices, he said, included departments, commissions, boards and other agencies of the executive arm of the government.

“Any disruption occasioned by the transfer of the executive power could produce results detrimental to the safety and well-being of Nigeria,’’ Dogara said.

 

The speaker said that in the US “the Presidential Transition Act (PTA) of 1963, as amended, established formal mechanisms to facilitate presidential transitions.’’

He said that the PTA authorised the Administrator of General Services to provide facilities and services to eligible presidential candidates and the president- elect.

Dogara however, noted that the committee may improve the Bill by being guided by best practices in other presidential democracies worldwide.

The bill which is under consideration also provides for the appointment of an Administrator-General who shall oversee the transition process after each general election.

The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Blessing Nsigbe, noted the need for the legislation and said that the essence of the bill was to ensure continuity and smooth handover from one government to another.

“The bill seeks to the orderly transfer of power from one government to another.

“It will give the new government enough information and speed to continue with the process of governance,’’ she said.

 

National Assembly Includes Second Runway For Abuja Airport In 2017 Budget

The National Assembly has included a budget for the construction of a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, in the 2017 Appropriation Bill. According to news reports, the lawmakers have agreed to the construction of another runway for the airport.

A source close to the leadership of the Senate revealed that both the Senate and the House of Representatives will vote between N15bn and N20bn for the project.

“The National Assembly has agreed that the construction of a second runway for Abuja airport must be in the budget and they are voting between N15bn and N20bn for it.

“This is based on our initiative going by what we witnessed during the last repairs (on the only runway), which forced the shutdown of the airport (Abuja).

“We don’t want such experience to repeat itself – the economic loss, embarrassment and the inconvenience.

“The leadership of the Senate and House of Representative’s chairmen of the committees on appropriations and chairmen of the committees on aviation of both chambers met and agreed on the decision,” the source said.

Reps Challenges El-Rufai

The House of Representatives has challenged Governor El-Rufai to produce the breakdown of his security vote, and not to deceive the citizens with the security budget he had released.  The House also advised Governor el-Rufa’i to be conscious of his past and how the company he had interest in, Pentascope, allegedly operating from an abandoned church in The Netherlands, ruined the Nigeria Telecommunications, NITEL just as they asked him to publish the monthly break down of what he takes home as security vote.

Addressing journalists, yesterday, Chairman, House Committee on Media and Publicity, Abdulrasak Namdas, advised the governor to concentrate his efforts in governing Kaduna State and stop undermining and distracting the National Assembly from playing its constitutionally assigned role in nation building. Namdas, flanked by members of the committee, said:

“He launched an attack on the National Assembly on Friday, April 7, 2017, and continued on Monday, April 10, 2017. We are aware that there are serious security issues he should be grappling with in Southern Kaduna and other governmental issues facing him. “He should not give the impression that he has no challenging work to do in Kaduna State.