LAGOS HERALD – The challenges and misconceptions surrounding Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIP), popularly constituency projects is believed by certain stakeholders, to be largely over-rated. Although, a few Nigerians believe the project to be immensely impactful.
Furthermore, in order to find a balance between the legislators and the masses, LAGOS HERALD Nigeria in collaboration with BudgIT came up with steps and plans needed to address the misconceptions.
These steps include a bilateral visit to key stakeholders, as a way of assessing/unravelling the scope and dynamics of these projects, to help for better understanding among the beneficiaries and constituents.
READ ALSO: MIDTERM: Ogba and Ogbaga lead Ebonyi Team at NASS
The partners recently had a chat with a key stakeholder in the scheme, the lawmaker representing Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency of Ebonyi State in the 9th National Assembly, Livinus Makwe (PDP), on Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIP).
On challenges experienced in the execution of these projects, he listed misconceptions that may in turn lead to a vandalisation of completed projects. He noted that this is common for Zonal Intervention Projects and a painful thing to be experienced by anyone.
He also lamented situations, where some constituents vandalise projects after execution because no monetary reward was given to them, following frantic demands. He stressed that the cost of such renovations most times comes from the personal pocket of the lawmaker implementing such projects.
Another he listed is the insufficiency of empowerment materials to constituents and their negative reactions towards it. Equally, he noted cases where some constituents sell some of these materials rather than use them.
Makwe said this could be qualified as a challenge because these materials are given to empower and aid them but such goals aren’t achieved, He also stated that early release of funds for these projects constitutes another form of challenge.
Here’s more excerpt from the interview:
What are the projects currently undergoing execution in your Constituency under the Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIP)?
I will want to state clearly that the National Assembly is in-between two budgets, in the sense that the 2021 Budget has been implemented, but the 2022 budget implementation has not actually started.
I have completed two different major roads, completed water schemes, completed some training and empowerment with motorcycles, KEKE-NAPEP, sewing machines, generators, barbing kits, the building of schools, etc.
All of these were done and completed under these 2021 Constituency Projects. At the moment, I do not have anyone ongoing even though advertisements are ongoing, implementation for 2022 has not started.
READ ALSO: Constituency Projects: “N40trn spent between 1999 to 2018 in Nigeria”
How do you determine the projects to be executed in your constituency?
This is dependent on the amount that is made available to you, that under the Zonal Intervention Projects, the money may not necessary be much, that some legislators have to go out of their ways to lobby other Committee Chairmen or agencies, departments of governments, to be able to bring in projects that can be worth it at the end of the day.
I tell you, if you depend on Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIP) alone you may have a total of 40 million or 100 million to be dealing with and that may just implement one or two projects for you.
I do not believe in indulging in projects that will take longer years to implement or cost 500 million, because throughout one’s tenure such amount may not be accessible. So I look at projects that I can start and finish within that year or if it’s something that is continuous, it should be within the four years that I will be in power.
I equally choose project between 50-100 million something I know I have access to, also you need to listen to your constituents, what they really want.
READ ALSO: Constituency Projects: ECOWAS Speaker urge parliamentarians to focus on climate change
How do you ensure delivery by the responsible parties?
Even though you are not the person executing that, when projects are being sighted in your constituency under your regime, you take responsibility by having an eye on your project.
You go lenh making sure the project is carried out and completed by supervising either directly or by sending your aides and making sure the necessary logistics are provided for in time and put in measures to securing their project.
How do you view the work of tech groups?
The role of such groups are essential and admirable, complementary, important and key in cubing enough illegalities in the legislature while implementing these projects.
READ ALSO: #LAGOS HERALDSpecial: ‘Why legislators cannot claim ‘Constituency Projects’ as personal’
Is there a National Policy Framework for carrying out Constituency Projects?
I am not aware, if there is any frame work whether National Policy or not, but there’s a limit on the amount available for ZIP, but there’s no regulation or policy whatsoever.
Equally that some agencies and departments do frown at empowerment, that physical projects are preferable.
What can we do as CSOs to make your noble intentions of the ZIP achievable?
By continuous publicity of these projects, either by interviews like these, or inspection of such projects. But mainly, continue publicity through social media and television.