Constituency projects, funds allocated for them and controversies surrounding their desirability, application and execution have been front burner issues for quite some while, this piece is not intended to be an attempt to join the bandwagon of those seeking to latch onto the controversies for personal reasons but resultant of MSME-ASI review of the past five years activities of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
As weird as some of the justification for constituency projects have sounded in the past weeks, the most worrisome part for us at MSME-ASI is the argument by lawmakers that constituency projects are desirable and must stay and the move by President to cede several billions for same, whereas I was taught in my government classes in secondary school that the legislature exists to make laws for the good and well-being of any nation where it exists, making laws have seemed a task of lesser importance for our legislators and constituency projects taking the front burner.
SMEDAN in its quest to develop the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sub sector of the Nigerian economy in the past five years engaged in a mass of constituency projects spending a little over Ten Billion (10,000,000,000.00) Naira with over 60% spent on constituency projects around the country, and our dear constituents in Surulere 1 federal constituency for which Houourable Femi Gbajabiamila represents received a total of Two Hundred and Seventy Five Million, Five Hundred and Fifty Thousand (N275,550,000) Naira in 2015 as constituency projects.
The breakdown of 2015 constituency projects for Surulere 1 federal constituency are as found below;
- Support programme for ailing enterprises. Allegedly executed in clusters GI, G2 and G3 for a total of Forty Five Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand (N45, 925,000) Naira.
- Post seasonal intervention programme. Allegedly executed in clusters GI, G2 and G3 for total of Forty Five Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand (N45, 925,000) Naira.
- Entrepreneurship development programme. Allegedly executed in clusters FI, F2 and F3 for a total of Forty Five Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand (N45, 925,000) Naira.
- Vocational training. Allegedly executed in clusters F1, F2 and F3 for a total of Forty Five Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand (N45, 925,000) Naira.
- Other enterprise support services. Allegedly executed in clusters F1, F2 and F3 for a total of Forty Five Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand (N45, 925,000) Naira.
- Other enterprise support services. Allegedly executed in clusters G1, G2 and G3 for a total of Forty Five Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand (N45, 925,000) Naira.
The constituency projects breakdown above are as released to MSME-ASI by SMEDAN as part of its past five years activities and we have engaged the agency further with a view to obtaining specific details as regards how, when and where the projects were executed and yet to get any response on these specifics beyond that they were all executed in 2015 despite that we wrote under provisions of the FOI ACT 2011.
MSME-ASI refusing to work on assumptions wrote reminders to SMEDAN requesting for specifics on the above named projects execution in the constituency and having obtained no response despite copying the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry then went on a project tracking exercise in the federal constituency with visits made to clusters of business enterprises, associations of micro, small and medium enterprises in Lagos state and a host of other individuals who we think should know if and when these named projects were executed and got no confirmation any of these projects execution, at least to the best of the knowledge of several business enterprises interviewed.
MSME-ASI seeks the following clarifications from Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila of the Surulere 1 federal constituency;
- Details relating to when, where, how and for whom each of the named constituency projects was executed.
- Details relating to beneficiaries of each of the projects, this should include names and precise business location of each of the beneficiaries of the constituency projects.
- Details of what streets, communities and or areas in the constituency make up clusters FI, F2 and F3 and GI, G2 and G3.
MSME-ASI seeks the above clarification from Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila seeing that SMEDAN has refused to release same preferring we take up legal actions to enforce release of information that ordinarily should be in the public space. Please before surrendering yourself to Nigeria Police authorities, kindly provide Nigerians with details of how the above listed constituency projects benefitted your constituents.
LEAD PARTNER MSME-ASI
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