2017 Budget: Nigeria Is In Big Trouble – Minister Of Power, Fashola

Minister of Power, Works and
Housing, Babatunde Fashola has continued to trade words with
members of the National Assembly
over tampered 2017 Budget which recorded some added projects by Lawmakers.

According to the Minister, Nigeria
is in big trouble if lawmakers do
not understand the difference
between cash and budgets.
Fashola had earlier complained
that some provisions of the budget violate the nation’s constitution.

The National Assembly however
clapped back that the Minister
was spreading ‘half-truths’
about the controversial Budget.

The former Lagos Governor who
spoke in a statement signed by
Hakeem Bello, his special adviser
on media, said it will not be out
of place to seek a resolution of
the conflict between the executive
and the legislators at the supreme
court.
He alleged that the national
assembly was more interested in
small projects that are not
life-changing.

In the case of the Second Niger
Bridge where one of the spokes-
persons alleged that the provision
in 2016 budget was not spent
and had to be returned,
Fashola said that this displays
very stark and worrisome gaps in
knowledge of the spokesperson
about the budget process he was addressing.

Fashola said the focus on contracts
by the spokesperson of the house
of representatives is probably a “Freudian slip that reveals his
mindset”.
He said:


“Budget is not cash, it is an
approval of estimates of expend-
iture to be financed by cash from
the ministry of finance.
The ministry of finance has not yet
released any cash for the second
Niger bridge, so no money was
returned.

“Three phases of early works of piling and foundation were approved and financed by the previous government
in the hope that a concession will
finally be issued, which has not happened because concessionaires
have not been able to raise finance.

“The continuation of early works IV
could not start in May 2016 when
the budget was passed because of
high water level in the River Niger
in the rainy season.
“The contract was only approved by
the federal executive council in the
first quarter of 2017 and the contra-
ctor is awaiting payment.

“In any event, allegations of half-
truth is only a flawed response to
the constitutional and developmental issues that have plagued Nigeria from 1999 about how to budget for the critical infrastructure in Nigeria.
“It shows the conflict between the executive that wants to build big
federal highways; bridges; power
plants; rail; and dams on one hand
and parliament that wants to do
small things like boreholes, health centres, street lights and supplying grinding machines.

“As long as budgets planned to
deliver life-changing infrastructure
are cut into small pieces, Nigeria
will continue to have small projects
that are not life-changing, and big projects that have not been
completed in 17 years.

“If a project would cost N15 billion
and the contractor gets only a
fraction of that, then things won’t
move.
Success should be defined by how
many projects an administration is
able to complete or set on the path
of irreversible completion and not
how many poorly funded contracts
are awarded.

“There is no fallacy or half-truth in
the allegation that the budgets
were reduced.

The spokespersons admitted this
much and now sought to rationalise
it by a concession or financing arrangement that has failed to
build the road since 2006.
The biggest momentum seen on
the road was in 2016.”

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