HE Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, yesterday urged the Senate Committee on Works not to change the ministry’s plans as presented in the 2016 budget proposals.
He spoke when he led a delegation to continue its budget defence.
The minister, in his presentation of the main thrust of the Medium Term Sector Strategy 2016–2018 budget proposals, explained that the objective would ensure that projects in the six geopolitical zones were completed.
He said: “Some members of the committee have pointed out that they wanted to see a plan. There is a plan before you and it is a plan that l appeal that you should look at in more detail. It is perhaps different from what has been done before, and if we have done this budget method where we put X Naira in the budget and every constituency takes a part of it in that budget year and it doesn’t lead us to the conclusion of a project, I think the time has come to try something new.
“ I am proposing something new but we not are inflexible about what we are proposing and as l have said in my previous meetings with the chairman and the vice chairman, give us a chance, to change the way things have been done, then hold us responsible to the plan that we agree with. But as parliament, when it comes to Budgetary Appropriation matters, you have the yam and you have the knife and you can choose to cut as you wish, Sir. Mr. Chairman, we have brought a plan to you Sir, it is different from what has been done before. The purpose of that plan is to address first, economic roads as the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Ilorin-Jebba road so that, a section at least can be completed.”
Fashola noted that if there was a clear cut plan as being proposed, each lawmaker could explain to their people on the schedule of their areas within such a plan.
Explaining that it was impossible to have come up with a 10-year plan in less than 100 days of being in office as suggested by one of the senators, the minister explained that it was important to come up with a proposal for implementation to avoid the danger of losing the dry weather while making elaborate plans.
Fashola noted that the time had come for the senators to insist on what will make meaningful impact in the life of the citizenry by endorsing the ministry’s proposal unlike what was done in the past.
“Let us also not forget that there are some contractors who were at work last year. The budget of N19 billion passed through this National Assembly last year, l wasn’t here. And perhaps that was the time to have put our foot down. We have another opportunity now to put our foot down and l hope that we do not miss it. In doing so my suggestion is that you trust us with this plan and you hold us to it subject to modifications that we may make and subject to the leadership responsibility that we will take in our constituencies that next year, this is what will happen in this part of the country, in year three, this is what will happen in this part of the country, “ he said.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Works, Senator Kabiru Gaya, hailed the minister and his team for the depth of work done within a short period, adding that his committee would work with the ministry to come up with a final budget to help achieve the objectives of the executive and legislature.
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