A bill seeking to make it unlawful for a government of the federation to have an abandoned project in any part of Nigeria on Wednesday scaled second reading in the Senate.
Titled: Compulsory Development Planning and Project Continuity Bill, 2021, the piece of legislation is sponsored by Senator Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano North).
In his lead debate, Barau said the bill seeks to make development planning compulsory for all tiers of government.
According to the lawmaker, it seeks to make provisions for each of the governments of the Federation to establish and maintain project implementation plans for projects within their jurisdiction from inception to conclusion.
Barau lamented that the non-completion of projects and lack of continuity in government programmes and policies are largely responsible for Nigeria’s lagging economic and infrastructural development.
“Mr. President, my respected Colleagues, all over the world, government is a continuum.
“Ideally, once the baton of leadership of a nation is handed over to a new government, the onus lie on it to embrace the projects, policies and programmes of the previous administration without recourse to any personal, party or primordial interests.
“However, one major identifiable draw-backs to social, economic and infrastructural development in Nigeria is lack of continuity of policies and programmes of government at the Federal, State and Local Government.
“State resources are poorly managed as some political leaders often embark on white elephant projects that cannot endure the test of time at the twilight of their tenures.
“This unfortunate tradition has badly characterized governance and induced corruption since 1999”, Barau said.
He added that as at June, 2011, the Presidential Projects Assessment committee led by Architect Ibrahim Bunu, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, had reported that there are 11,886 abandoned federal and state government projects across Nigeria which requires N7.78 trillion to complete.
He said the committee revealed that political and personal considerations outweighed national interest in the award of contracts.
“Majority of the contracts the committee said were procurement driven rather than development driven.
“With this ugly political trend and worrisome disposition of some politicians, the nation is utterly consigned to retrogression if not urgently checked”, Barau lamented.
The lawmaker explained further, “this Bill provides sure remedy to the lack of seamless developmental plan for the nation.
“It rises above primordial sentiments and stands to quarantine any regional neglect or political vendetta.
“The proposed Bill professes enduring legacies and showcases excellent promises to Nigerians.”
The bill which was exhaustively debated was unanimously supported by lawmakers in their separate contributions.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, thereafter, referred the bill to the Committee on National Planning and Economic Affairs for further legislative work.
The Committee which is chaired by Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi (APC, Ekiti North) was given four weeks to report back to the Senate.
In a related development, three bills seeking to establish the National Examination Management Commission; National Food Safety Council; and FCT Borderline Community Development Commission, also scaled second reading in the Senate on Wednesday.
The bills are sponsored by Senators Kabir Barkiya (APC, Katsina Central); Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno North); and Sani Musa (APC, Niger East).
The bills were referred by the Senate President to the Committees on Federal Capital Territory (FCT); Basic and Secondary Education; and Agriculture and Rural Development, respectively.
The Committees were all given four weeks to report back to the upper chamber.