The House of Representatives Committee on Sports on Thursday queried the Ministry of Sports for awarding a contract for the construction of a mini stadium at the rate of N269m above the N137m appropriated and approved for the Project sited in Daura, Kastina State.
This came just as the Committee chaired by Hon Bukar Lawal Goni suspended further legislative work on the 2019 budget appropriation of the Ministry and insisted of going ahead on over sight inspection to all Federal Government Stadia in the country.
This over sight inspection, according to the members would allow them to ascertain whether or not all the previous funds appropriated for the ministry were judiciously used before they would now commence the 2019 budget defence.
Receiving brief from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Olusade Olusola yesterday during the 2019 budget defence of the Ministry , the Committee discovered that in the documents available to the it, the mini stadium which a budget approval was given by the National Assembly in 2017 and 2018 was awarded above the amount budget for it.
The chairman, technical sub-committee of the panel, Hon. Abubakar Nuhu Damburam had raised issues with the practice of awarding a contract over and above the amount actually appropriated, saying that it contravened the appropriation act and piled up unwarranted debts for government.
According to him,” the Ministry awarded a contract for a mini stadium in Daura for N269m as against the N137m that was appropriated by the committee, tell me, how you can justify such an infraction of the appropriation act?
“The appropriated sum was N137m and here you’re reporting an award of the contract to the tune of N269m. Not only have you violated the appropriation act, you have also created unwarranted debts for government by promising to pay what you don’t have.”
However, in his defence, the Permanent Secretary who represented the minister said that lack of funding in 2017 lbudget ed to the revaluation of the project having met with the contractors who said the cost had gone up.
According to him, “the Ministry took the approach knowing that the project is a works related one which had to be awarded at once with the funding spread across the medium term expenditure period.”
Also the Committee again discovered in the budget document that a Hilux SUV Vehicle which was coated at cost N10m and approved was equally awarded for procurement at the rate of N25m.
A this point, Hon. Lazarus Ogbee, from said there’s nothing that justifies the award of contracts that were higher than the sums appropriated by the Parliament, threatening that “if the PermSec insists on defending it, the procurement committee of which I’m a member would formally take it up for investigation.”
He however, urged the PermSec to withdraw the document and effect corrections, which the chairman, Hon. Bukar Lawal Goni ruled on as adopted and agreed to by the PermSec.
The members also protested against the total neglect of their constituencies in executing approved Sporting relating projects by the Ministry over the years and demanded immediate adjust by the Ministry to ensure even spread of projects across the Six geo-political zones of the Country.
Specifically, Hon Henry Daniel Ofongo,representing Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency of Bayelsa State accused the Ministry of the total neglect of the entire South-South region since 2015 in sitting or executing any sports related project in the Zone and that all efforts to draw the attention of the Ministers were ignored.
The law maker stated that the Nation belong to all Nigerian citizens and as such all available projects should be spread round the country for all.
The committee also resolved to suspend consideration of the Ministry’s 2019 budget pending assessments of federal stadia across the country to ascertain the level of budget implementation on them.
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