Despite criticisms over a bill seeking to include constituency projects in the budget, senators are set to constitute a special fund for such projects.
A copy of the bill, sponsored by the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, was obtained by newsmen in Abuja, on Tuesday.
This is coming at a time a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, has called for devolution of more powers from the federal to the states and local government councils.
Atiku aired his views at a public presentation of a book titled, Nigerian federalism: Continuing quest for stability and nation-building, edited by Okechukwu Ibeanu and Mohammad J. Kuna, in Abuja, on Monday.
He said, “We must end our culture of institutional escapism in this country. By that I mean our tendency to create new institutions to solve problems for which we already have institutions.”
The new Senate bill seeks to, among other things, compel the Federal Government to allocate a minimum of 2.5 per cent of the annual budget to the proposed fund.
The Senate Bill 321 is entitled ‘An Act to establish the constituencies development fund for the purpose of even development of all constituencies in the federation and for connected purposes (2016)’.
Part II of the bill, which specifies the establishment of the fund, stipulates in section 4 (1) to establish “a fund to be known as the Constituencies Development Fund, which shall
“ be a national fund, consisting of an amount of not less than 2.5 per cent of all the Federal Government ordinary budget in every financial year;
“accruing to or received by the Department from any other source;
“disbursed by the Federal Government to the Department for even development and provision of rural infrastructure in the manner provided by this Act; and administered by the Department of Rural Development in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development: provided that 1.5 per cent and one per cent of the total revenue, accruing to the Department under this Act, shall be allocated for development projects at all Federal constituencies and senatorial districts in the federation respectively.”