By Obisue Emmanuel
Chairman Senate Committee on Special Duties, Senator Abdul`Aziz Murtala Nyako has called for the early preparation and submission of the 2019 budget by the Federal Government to enable the National Assembly commence work on it without delay.
Nyako who made this known yesterday during an oversight function visit to the Special Duties Office, Federal Secretariat Complex Abuja, lamented the delay in release of funds which often jeopardised the function of the office in terms of monitoring Federal Executive Council, FEC approved projects and constituency projects.
While stating that this could amount to undue pressure on the part of management, Senator Nyako said their visit was to keep abreast of the performance and the implementation of the 2017 budget and monitor how the funds appropriated to the agency were being utilized for the year under review.
He further applauded the management for utilizing the little resources allocated to the office, encouraging them to put in their best in the implementation of projects as this year’s release was much lower than last year, noting that only 10% of the budget was released recently.
The Permanent Secretary in the office, Chief William Alo, while giving a brief on the performance of the 2017 budget, appreciated the Senate Committee and his team, adding that his visit is in line with the theory of separation of powers between the executive and the legislative arm of government, which allows for checks and balances to ensure good governance, accountability, due process and transparency.
He added that inadequate funding and late releases were responsible for non execution of some of the projects planned for the year under review.
Chief Alo said that due to limited funds, instead of awarding contracts, the agency prioritized their activities and critically reviewed areas of needs such as monitoring of constituency projects, FEC approved projects, website management, establishment of a library amongst other projects.
Present at the meeting were the Senate Committee Members on special duties and the management of special duties office in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The special duties office has a core mandate of monitoring the implementing of federal executive council decisions, programs, policies and projects submitted by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs. In addition, it also oversees the implementation of zonal intervention/constituency projects nationwide.