Group raises concern over N58bn empowerment projects


Tracka, the  organisation  founded by BudgIT for  tracking the implementation of government projects in communities,  has raised alarm over what it describes as,  “wasteful empowerment projects” in the 2019 Zonal Intervention Projects, nominated by members of the National Assembly.


In a press release, the organsisation  noted that the Zonal Intervention Projects accounted for N58 billion of the N100 billion constituency projects, which, it said,  “are practically used as political benefits.”


According to the organisation, “the lack of citizen inclusion in the nomination of zonal intervention projects has led to an escalating number of abandoned projects across the country, Tracka research has shown. Between 2015 and 2019, projects worth N270 billion are either left incomplete or poorly implemented, despite the huge amount of funds allocated for capital expenditure yearly.”


It further stated that aside from abandoned projects, its analysis revealed that over 50 per cent of nominated projects from 2016 till date were empowerment programmes.”


Head of Tracka, Ilevbaoje Uadamen, said: “While we advocate genuine citizen empowerment, the regular pattern is, saying the least, questionable. In 2018 and 2019 alone, a total of N61 billion and N58 billion were allocated respectively for empowerment provisions. How do politicians come to determine the empowerment needs of their constituents without need assessment or inclusion in the decision-making process? How do they decide the beneficiaries?


“In the 2019 budget, Tracka discovered under the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) that N1.5 billion was allocated for provision of ICT, Mathematics, and English language textbooks for JSS1-3 by MMP to selected secondary schools. We note with dismay that theseprojects bear no details of the states, local governments and senatorial districts of beneficiaries, same as there is zero specifications of where the projects will be domiciled. In total, projects with unspecified locations (in the 2019 budget) account for more than N5.8 billion out of N100 billion total.


“The failure to provide these locations is antithetical to democracy because it deprives communities, civil society organisations (CSOs) and auditing bodies the opportunity to monitor and ensure proper implementation of the government’s obligations to the people.”



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