A Bill seeking to authorise the roll-over of unspent funds of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) passed through second reading in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Leading debate on the general principles of the bill in Abuja, Rep. Steve Karimi (PDP-Kogi), said if passed, the bill would ensure continuity in funding of capital projects.
He argued that the proposed legislation had nothing to do with current expenditure, “It is basically about roll-over of appropriated capital budget.
Karimi said the bill would enable contractors handling capital projects to have trust in the system and allay the fear of not getting their money in the next financial year.
He cited Germany, France, Russia, Indonesia as some of the countries that rolled-over unspent capital expenditures by Act of Parliament.
Rep. Leo Ogor (PDP-Delta), commended Karimi for sponsoring the bill.
He supported Karimi’s submission that the bill would give confidence to contractors handling capital projects.
Ogor said the bill would address the issue of abandoned projects while urging members to look at the merit of the proposed legislation and support it.
The bill was, however, opposed by Rep. Simon Arabo (PDP-Kaduna), who argued that there was already an existing law that all unspent funds should go to the national treasury.
He said that he appreciated the good intention behind the bill, saying however, that the proposed bill could come by way of amending the extant law.
Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Rep. Albert Sam-Tsokwa (PDP-Taraba), urged the House to allow the bill to pass through second reading.
He said the reasons advanced by Arabo would be addressed at the committee level.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr Emeka Ihedioha, subsequently referred it to the Committee on Finance for more input.
In a related development, the House passed for second reading A Bill to Provide for the Establishment of Commercialisation of Research Products Funds.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Faparusi Bamidele (ACN-Ekiti), seeks to specify the sources of additional sums to be made available to the fund thereof.
It also seeks to specify the procedure and manner of disbursement of monies contained therein to any commercial concern.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce for more legislative input.