[TR News] Reps summon Fashola over comment on 2017 budget

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• Committee, ADSC to engage govt on SERVICOM implementation 
The House of Representatives yesterday summoned the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, for allegedly undermining the institution of the National Assembly over the 2017 budget.

The resolution followed the adoption of the request by Mr. Sadiq Ibrahim (APC, Adamawa) who drew the attention of the lawmakers at the plenary under matters of privileges. Brandishing various newspaper reports, he claimed that Fashola had breached his privileges by making incisive statements capable of pitting Nigerians against the National Assembly over the alterations affected by the National Assembly in the 2017 budget.

The lawmaker who made reference to advanced democracies like Canada and the United States of America (USA) where the legislature exercises enormous influence on the budget, wondered why the minister made inflammatory comments to the extent of saying all the National Assembly was interested in was construction of boreholes.

Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), welcomed the idea of summoning the minister, adding that there was the need to ascertain the veracity of the statement credited to him during the investigative hearing.

Chief Whip of the House, Alhassan Ado Doguwa alleged that the Minister had committed an illegal act by undermining the 2017 budget, which was duly considered and signed into law by the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

Fashola who has threatened to approach the judicial arm on the issue was much more concerned over the insertion of projects outside the purview of his ministry in the 2017 budget.

Fashola, at a recent parley with journalists had questioned the power of the National Assembly for altering the budget.Also, its Committee on Governmental Affairs has announced a conference aimed at engaging government on key issues to be addressed in the process of passing the SERVICOM bill.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is expected to inaugurate the conference with Governor Nasir El-Rufai as the Chief Host. All SERVICOM heads and nodal officers service-wide are also expected to be in attendance.

The conference, scheduled for July 11 to 14, 2017 would also serve as a forum for feedback to government on issues around SERVICOM and as a public hearing/stakeholders’ forum to highlight challenges of implementation of the SERVICOM compact in MDAs from inception.

According to Ambassador Victor Walsh Oluwafemi of Africa Development Studies Center (ADSC), co-organizers of the event, major principles SERVICOM is hinged on, including affirmation of commitment to the service of the nation and conviction on Nigerians realizing their full potential if citizens receive prompt and efficient services from the state, are critical to the public service mandate of SERVICOM as the only contact that most people have with Government.

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