Fashola’s Performance Thrills Senate
After series of misunderstandings between the National Assembly and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola last year, a fresh air of harmony beckoned on Thursday.
The Senate Committee on Works commended the minister over his ministry budget performance of 71.58 percent as at December 2017.
In the first quarter when the minister appeared before the committee, the budget performance stood at 15.3 percent. Fashola told the committee then that most of the projects carried out were not paid for and that until the government settled the contractors, it would be out of place to say the actual performance of the 2017 budget.
Recalled that 2017 budget for the ministry was N586.535Billion and as Fashola put it, the 15.3 percent performance was based on the payments of N57Billion to the contractors, following the release of funds in the first quarter.
However, the government was able to make some payments between December 2017 and January 2018 to grow the performance to 71.58 percent.
This, according to Fashola was possible because the government released the second allocation of N120 Billion and also got some disbursements from the SUKUK in the sum of N57Billion.
The minister noted that over 500 projects were done across the country and that some of the roads being constructed run from 50km to about 500 kilometres.
Fashola stated that some projects of three to five-kilometre roads usually took 24 months to finish and that such project could not be completed in one budget year.
He advised that it was necessary to adopt a process that would work for the country where resources were not increasing in the same exponential manner in which the government was committing to new projects.
He added that the Overhead Costs of the Ministry and its Parastatals currently stood at 62 percent while the Personnel Cost which, according to him, was being implemented would be reported through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
While commending the minister, the Chairman of the Committee Senator Kabir Gaya, said he had never seen such a high budget performance in the last 10 years.
He said, “This achievement is great and it supersedes the performances of all other budgets in the last 10 years in this ministry and others within two years of this administration.”
To him, it shows that the present government is keen in providing the necessary infrastructure for the country despite the huge budget of over N500 billion when compared to the one in 2014.
“I want to say that in the history of our budget performance for the last ten years we have not seen such but in just two years we are seeing systematic progress. There was a budget of N20Billion I think in 2015 and the budget in the last two years has tripled that. This shows that this Government is concerned about improving the state of infrastructure”, the Chairman said.
The committee threw their weight behind Fashola, describing him as a very capable hand that should be kept to continue with a good job.