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Accountability is our watchword —Bauchi Speaker

| May 25, 2013 More

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The Speaker, Bauchi State House of Assembly, Honourable Muhammed Yayaha Miya, recently spoke with journalists, including SALIU GBADAMOSI, on the affairs of the assembly. Excerpts:

There is a directive that each committee of the assembly should present reports of its activities on a quarterly basis. How effective has this directive been?
I have to start by thanking almighty Allah who has seen us to this day and time that I am speaking with you. Secondly, I must thank you journalists for enlightening the public, especially the people of Bauchi State, on the activities of the House of Assembly.

As regards your question on the quarterly submission of reports of various committees to me, I can say it is successful. When we reconstituted the standing committees of the House, we mandated them through the Rules and Business Committee that every committee must submit a quarterly report at my table so that we could assess the activities of the various MDAs. We have done so in order to assess what the committees are doing from time to time because by mandating them to submit quarterly report to the House, definitely, you will assess what we are doing. The third reason we have done it is to make sure that our people know what we are doing. By getting the committees involved, we then, in turn, report to the House, the reports of the various committees. That is the reason we have made it a policy that on a quarterly basis, all the standing committees of the House should be submitting their report and I can say that by now, about 50 to 60 per cent has been achieved and by the grace of God, before the end of the year, there will be some improvement.

There has always been the issue of accountability in the various Houses of Assembly across the country. How do you assess your own assembly in this regard?      
Well, I am the Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly and I am the one you ask about my stewardship. There is no need for me to be blowing my trumpet. This question should be directed at the members of the House of Assembly. They can tell you much about the accountability of this assembly. But I beat my chest when I say that throughout the federation, none is more accountable and transparent than Bauchi State House of Assembly, because almost on a daily basis, I ask my cashier to bring me the file of cash transaction so that I would update the members of the House on what I spent the previous day. I have to explain to them the detail of what we have spent and the balance. This is being done to encourage them so that they could try and do the same thing in the various MDAs they are supervising.

During the last budget defence, most of the ministries and parastatals complained of lack of funds to execute their projects. What is the assembly doing in this regard, especially to ensure that the agencies that are supposed to generate funds for the government are not only doing so, but are also remitting same to the coffers of the government?
You have asked two questions at the same time. First of all, I want to remind you that on the day that the state governor submitted the 2013 budget to this assembly, in my speech, I made an observation and a sort of directive too that we observed during the 2012 that some MDAs were starved of finances, especially on rural development and he has responded. After the submission of the budget, we met the governor, I mean the leadership of the House, and discussed the release of funds to most of the ministries. And through the various committees, from January till date, we are made to understand that there is a little bit of improvement.

The ministries that are supposed to generate revenues have not been doing so, for example, the Ministry of Commerce. Machinery has been put in place and there must be improvement.

What has been the relationship between the executive and the legislative arms under your leadership?
You are witnesses to what is happening. If there is any problem between the executive and the assembly, I believe by now, you must have reported it. A good relationship exists between the assembly and the executive. We achieved that through understanding between members of the assembly and the governor.

Training and re-training is very important to legislators, what have you been doing in this direction for the benefit of your members?
It is not only for the legislators, but also for the members of staff of the assembly, who are always working hand in hand with the legislators. From the time the seventh assembly started on June 12, 2011, almost all the members have gone on training one way or the other from one state or the other, in one country or the other. Only recently, I led a delegation of about 13 members of the assembly to the United Kingdom. We met with members of the parliament there and we had discussions and seminars. We are doing all these things to improve our learning and give the people of the state a good representation.

The state government some time ago entered into partnership with a Chinese company on an independent power project. The people were told that within 18 months, the project would become a reality, but two years now, nothing has been heard of the project and the issue involved public funds. What is the assembly doing to ensure that anything that involves public fund is adequately taken care of?
Well, you have said that you know it is more than two years. When you are talking of more than two years, I wasn’t on this seat as the Speaker. I was not even elected then, so I don’t need not to comment on that. But I’m only commenting on the activities of the seventh assembly. But we are trying our very best to make sure that all that has been done, especially from 2007 to date, has been checked up to make sure that our records are correct. There are problems in some ministries, especially rural development, works and housing. Even in the formal sector you are talking about, that one will also be looked into by this honourable assembly. But I don’t need to talk about that until the time comes when we will brief the press.

The assembly seems not to be doing much in terms of oversight function. For instance, there are some road projects that were awarded since 2008 with up to 70 per cent of the contact sums paid to the various contractors upfront and yet, but the projects are yet to be completed. What is the assembly doing to improve its oversight function with a view to serving as a check on the executive arm of government?
This House has set up a seven-man committee that will assess and report back to the assembly as regards those four roads, especially Ningi-Bura; Alkaleri-Futuk; Miya-Zara-Soro. The assembly has done something and is doing something. I can assure you that the report will soon be on our table and you will get the details of our investigation, but I don’t want to preempt anything because our members are working on it.

Category: Bauchi State News

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