The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission says it is set to commence the third phase of its ‘Constituency and Executive Projects Tracking Exercise.’
ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugwa, said in a statement on Tuesday that the tracking process would take place in 17 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Along with FCT, the states are: Katsina, Kano, Sokoto, Yobe, Adamawa, Plateau and Kogi. Others are Benue, Ondo, Osun, Lagos, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Edo, Anambra and Imo.
The commission said the tracking exercise would focus on key sectors including agriculture, education, power, health and water resources.
It said 1,024 constituency and 227 executive projects, summing up to 1,251 projects, appropriated for in the 2019 and 2020, would be tracked during the exercise.
“A total of 1,251 projects executed within the 2019 and 2020 appropriations have been listed for tracking in this third phase. These include 1,024 constituency and 227 executive projects respectively,” the commission stated.
It also said it was following up with other projects from its previous tracking exercises through “community sensitisation and enlightenment programmes, receipt, and handling of enquiries on the toll-free number (0800-CALL-ICPC/0800-2255-4272) and email@example.com.”
“Some cases of diversion of project funds from the first two phases are being investigated,” it added.
Objective of tracking
The objectives of the tracking exercise, according to the commission include, ensuring that the Appropriation Act is fully implemented as contemplated by law.
They also include monitoring the implementation of the projects from inception to completion, making recoveries on projects/contracts confirmed to have been inflated, and investigating fraudulent procurement practices in the award of contracts for the constituency and executive projects.
The commission added that the tracking exercise would also help to, among others, “improve service delivery to the people, ensure the full execution of all projects, and guarantee value for money in the implementation of the projects.”
It stated that it would also ensure compliance with regulatory requirements in the implementation of the projects, and increase recovery of public funds into government coffers.
Constituency Project Tracking
Constituency projects, also known as Zonal Intervention Projects (ZLP), were first introduced in Nigeria during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999.
The project is conceived to ensure equity in the allocation of projects sited in the constituencies of state and federal lawmakers by various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of government in the budgets of the federation or state.
However, previous reports of how the projects were poorly executed indicated sharp practices in the utilisation of the budgetary allocation.
In addressing the issues, President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2019 lamented that there was little to show for over N1trillion budgeted for constituency projects of the National Assembly members in the last 10 years.
Similarly, PREMIUM TIMES also reported in 2019 how over 400 participants from government agencies, civil society groups, and the media, at a two-day summit organised by the commission, suggested that the mode of payment and execution of the ZIP’s were enmeshed in corruption and should be reviewed.
In a bid to ensure proper and full execution of the projects, the ICPC in 2019, launched the Constituency Projects Tracking Group Initiative, focusing on how well money allocated to critical sectors by the government are utilized across the country.
The initiative, according to the commission, has so far led to multiple recoveries of items, hospital equipment, vehicles, and funds worth billions to the government, as well as the return of assets and equipment to communities for whom they were meant.
It has also forced many contractors who hitherto had abandoned projects to return to the site to complete them.
The first phase of the exercise was held in 2019 across 12 states and the FCT and saw the tracking of 524 projects. The second phase in 2020 had about 822 projects tracked in 16 states.
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