Only 40.3 per cent of constituency projects were completed in 2016 in 20 states, a civic technology organization, BudgIT Nigeria has disclosed.
The organization, which is interested in ensuring transparency and accountability in government budgets, said it tracked 852 projects across 20 states between June 2016 and June 2017.
The states are; Kogi, Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Edo, Delta, Sokoto, Kaduna, Niger, Gombe, Lagos, Ondo, Imo, Cross River, Ekiti, Osun, Kwara, Akwa Ibom, Kebbi, and Enugu.
BudgIT, in its latest Tracka Report, said out of the 852 projects tracked, 343 projects remained unexecuted, 118 are ongoing while only 350 reached completion.
The Federal Government last year released N100 billion to the National Assembly for constituency projects after it failed to consider President Muhammadu Buhari’s N180 billion virement request.
However, BudgIT’s Co-founder and Team Lead, Seun Onigbinde, in a statement in Abuja on Monday, insisted that these projects, which many Nigerians have kicked against, remained largely unexecuted and with little impact on Nigerians.
According to Mr. Onigbinde, the organization’s Project Tracking Officers in 20 states discovered that most of the projects were signed off and contractors paid most of their fees by government authorities without most of the projects being executed.
“These statistics show that 40.3% of the projects were implemented, 13.8% are ongoing, 41.1% are uncompleted, while the locations of 4.8% are unspecified," he said.
“In a number of cases across focus states, we noticed that 343 of the 852 projects identified in the 2016 budget remain willfully unexecuted. Our research from Tracka’s Project Tracking Officers (PTOs) across the 20 states discovered that these projects were signed off and contractors got paid most of their fees with little by government authorities."
“This situation is to the detriment of citizens, who are often restricted from asking questions, due to a lack of information on project allocation and implementation status."
“This has been the situation since the inception of Tracka. For effective project tracking, it is imperative that project locations are clearly defined in the budget and made available to the public," Mr. Onigbinde said.
“Failure to do this is harmful to democracy, depriving communities and civil society organizations the opportunity to monitor and ensure proper implementation of government’s obligations to the people.”
BudgIT said it discovered that the locations of 41 projects contained in 2016 budget remained unspecified.
Mr. Onigbinde also said the organization discovered that 2016 federal constituency projects within the National Assembly were labeled “donations.”
“We reiterate that constituency projects should not be labeled donations by their representatives in the National Assembly, as this comes off as a malicious attempt at deliberately misinforming the public for selfish political interests.
“We demand that contract details be prioritized to ensure citizen participation in contract awards via the provision of accurate details of all contract`s (contractors’ names, government budget benchmark, terms of the agreement, bill of quantity, etc), placed in the public domain.
“Representatives should routinely engage their constituents in the budget-making process to ensure their needs are captured in every annual fiscal plan. Project locations should be spelled out, for easy access by citizens and organizations."
“As noted, in several cases, they budgeted line items, identified project titles, specifications, and monetary amounts, but failed to establish the actual project location. Unclear locations and other such details mean certain projects are extremely prone to misappropriation of funds and corruption,” he added.