Reps frown over non-Implementation of intervention projects in SDGs’ 2020 budget
The House of Representatives has expressed dissatisfaction over the non-implementation of Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIPs) in the 2020 budget by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) office.
At the 2021 budget defense session by the House Committee on SDGs, the lawmakers were worried that funds were totally released for every other project in the budget but there were zero releases for Zonal Intervention Projects.
They were particularly worried because these projects were what their constituents would benefit from and make them have faith in them as their true representatives.
Members queried Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari on SDGs, wondering why she was so comfortable to have executed every other project, leaving only those that directly affected the lawmakers’ zones.
The lawmakers expressed worries that the year was fast running to an end, yet no fund has been released to take care of the capital Special Intervention Projects in their zones.
However, the President’s aide explained that it was not her fault, as she could only spend if the money has been released to her agency.
In a quick intervention to save her from his colleagues, Rotimi Agunsanya (APC, Lagos), Chairman of the Committee, informed members that the ministry of Finance should be held accountable for the non-release of the funds.
He disclosed that of late, he has been working closely with the SSA to ensure that funds were released and the projects executed.
“If you have your ZIP and it has not been done, we will crosscheck with her office to ensure that it is done,” he said.
The Chairman urged his colleagues to exercise patience with the agency, which many of them already commended, having performed credibly in her 2019 and part of 2020 budgets.
On her part, the SSA assured that she would make available relevant documents to the Chairman and communicate with members on their intervention projects.
Speaking on the intervention of her office during the COVID-19, the SSA said that she did not receive any additional money from government or donors, but was able to provide intervention under the 2020 budget.
She disclosed that 100 bed and facemasks were provided to all states and the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), on equal basis as palliative for the pandemic. However, she complained that only Rivers state didn’t benefit from the intervention.
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