Advises FG to capture projects in MTEF
The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FSC), has frowned at shoddy completion of Federal Government projects across the country, and advised that projects should be executed within the relevant Medium- Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) to avoid inconsistency in project execution.
MTEF is a budget template prepared annually by the Budget Office of the federation, which spells out a three-year spending plan of the government. It aims at ensuring that budgets reflect government’s social and economic priorities and give substance to government’s reconstruction and development commitments.
FSC added that the actual execution should be in line with the document, adding that taking the step would prevent inconsistency in budgetary provisions for projects, which unarguably is a leading cause of abandoned projects littering the country’s landscape. FRC’s recommendations on capital projects implementation were contained in the 2019 annual report signed by the Chairman, Barrister Victor Muruakor.
The report, which detailed activities of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of government in relation to budget performances, revenue remittances into consolidated revenue account ,in addition, gave detailed assessment of capital projects executed across the six geo-political zones of the country.
The committee advised the government to desist from an envelope system of budget where a bulk amount is appropriated to an institution or agency for discretionary allocation to competing projects.
As an alternative to envelope budget system, FRC suggested that in a fiscal year, specific provisions should be made for the respective projects being executed by an institution or agency. Proper planning, design and costing of projects should be done before execution to avoid cost reviews and variations.
Other recommendations of the Commission to stem capital projects implementation abuse include, adoption of Public-Private- Partnership (PPP) as funding arrangement by government for hospitals. “MDAs should closely supervise projects to ensure that contractors keep to the designs and contract agreements; a consultant should be appointed for every project to monitor the progress and quality of work.
A consultant should confirm the certificates presented by a contractor before payment is processed. Government should always have in mind the socio-economic benefits accruable to the citizens before embarking on any project”, it suggested. The Commission drew government’s attention to the imperative of funding projects to a logical conclusive end and on time too for the use of the communities without any delay. Doing that, it said will ensure value for money.
“There should be a proper survey before projects are awarded. This will curb incessant abandonment of projects. Projects should commence as soon as possible after design in order to avoid unnecessary reviews that lead to variations and delays in completion. Competency of contractors should be ensured before projects are awarded. “Government should encourage indigenous contractors by making loans easily accessible for equipment leasing.
Discrepancies in project information relating to payments and status of projects should be harmonized by MDAs for transparency and accountability”, FRC said among other recommendations. FRC’s projects inspection team goes for capital projects inspection routinely on schedule. The exercise is carried out to assess the level of capital projects implementation which is funded through budget disbursement.
In 2019, the team visited the six geo-political zones to assess the level of capital projects executed. Part of Fiscal Responsibility Commission’s mandate as encapsulated in Section 3 of the FRA, 2007, empowers it to monitor and evaluate the processes leading to the implementation of the annual budget to ensure that the government makes well-informed decisions as well as safeguard the achievement of fiscal targets.
In carrying out the physical verification of selected capital projects in 2019, it randomly selected projects executed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the six (6) geopolitical zones of the country. In 2019, the exercise took place in December. Two teams of officers per zone visited randomly selected projects in the country, covering Aviation, Works, Power and Health sectors as well as the Federal Road Safety Corps.
“It was observed that the present administration made deliberate effort at directing funding to ongoing projects and the many abandoned projects. It is hoped that their completion will remain the priority of the administration in order to enjoy full benefits and value for money spent”, it noted in the report.
In North Central zone, projects physically assessed included the upgrade and rehabilitation of terminal building at the Yakubu Gowon Airport, Jos, Plateau State, construction of 12km fence and 10 km Road at Jos Airport, construction of Panyam-Bokkos- Wamba road in Plateau State, rehabilitation of 9th Mile-Otukpo-Makurdi road (Otukpa Otukpo Section) in Benue State ,rehabilitation of 9th Mile-Otukpo Road (Enugu State border – Ogbokolo Section) in Benue State, Zungeru Hydro-Power Project in Niger State; Federal Medical Centre, Bida, Niger State, Construction of FRSC Sector Command Office, Kogi State and Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State.
In North East zone, capital projects inspected were: construction of Billiri-Filiya road in Gombe State C/No.6571, construction of Federal Road Safety Commission Sector Command Office in Gombe State, Construction of Control Tower at Maiduguri Airport in Borno State, Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo Taraba State and Power Evacuation of Kashimbilla 40-MW Hydropower Plant.
Projects monitored in North West zone by FRC included, construction of the 215MW Kaduna power plant project, construction of 2x60mva,132/33kv Substation at Kudenda, Kaduna State, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Training Centre Saye, Zaria, Aminu Kano International Airport, Federal Medical Centre, Katsina; Umar Musa Yar’adua International Airport, Katsina and Federal Medical Centre, Birnin Kebbi.
In the South East axis, the following projects were assessed. Rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway; Section I (Lokpanta- Umuahia), Abia State; Rehabilitation of Enugu- Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway Section II (Umuahia- Aba), Abia State; Expansion of Apron at Owerri Airport, Phase 2-3; Rehabilitation of Otuocha-Anam – Nzam- Innoma – Ibaji section of Otuocha – Ibaji – Odulu – Ajegwu, Anambra State; Construction of terminal building at Enugu airport ,construction of Control towers and terminal building at Enugu Airport and Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, Enugu State.
In South- South zone, projects inspected by FRC inspection team include: Construction of FRSC Sector Command Office Uyo, Akwa- Ibom State, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Cross-Rivers State, University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State; completion of control tower / technical building at Benin Aiport, Edo State, construction of Isienmwenro Road Isokponba Road, Benin City, Edo State; dualisation of Obajana Junction – Benin Phase 2: Section iv (Ehor – Benin) C/NO 6138, Edo State, construction of FRSC Sector Command Office Ibusa, Delta State and construction and installation of 10km of 33kv line and Associated 2x 15mva 33/11kv substation at Ibusa, Delta State.
In South West zone, eleven projects assessed by FRC team are: Construction of FRSC Command Office Ekiti State, Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido-Ekiti, Ekiti State , Federal Medical Centre, Owo; 2x150MWA, 330/132KV Substation and 2x60MVA, 132/33KV Substation Akure, Ondo State,completion of control tower/technical building at Akure Airport, 2x60MVA substation at Ede, dualization of Ijebu Ode-Ibadan Road phase 1, rehabilitation of Ijebu-Ode-Mumu Oyo State road in Ogun State C/No. 6082, completion of control tower/ technical tower at Ibadan Airport, dualization of Abeokuta -Ibadan Road c/No. 6081 Rehabilitation of Lagos- Shagamu-Ibadan Dual Carriageway section 1 in Lagos State C/NO.6204, extension and Asphalt overlay of MMIA Runway 181/36 at Lagos Airport (completion of outstanding Taxiway ‘B’).
In its general observation report submitted to the Federal Government, FRC noted that some Contractors were not cooperative in providing required information while some didn’t send competent representatives to brief the teams. It added that few projects were terminated as a result of poor performance by contractors and are lying uncompleted.
It lamented some Federal Controllers of Works failure to attend to the teams at the time of inspection, even as it complained about poor funding of many projects occasioned by inadequate budgetary releases.