Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has urged the National Assembly to strengthen its legislative oversight on defence in order to restore integrity, reduce leakages and promote accountability in the defence and security sector.
Mr Auwal Musa-Rafsanjani, the Executive Director of CISLAC, made the call in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that strengthening of the oversight on the defence sector was a panacea for economic stability and growth.
He said through effective oversight functions that reconciliation of defence budget with specific attention to the performance and constructive audit would be achievable.
He also said that the performance of various military operations with specific interest in prompt closure of outdated or expired operations across the country would be easily detected with an effective oversight.
“NASS should strengthen its legislative oversight on defence in order to restore integrity, reduce leakages and promote accountability in the defence and security sector.
“It should also intensify oversight to block financial leakages in government; this would charge its relevant committees to exhaustively investigate the reported cases of bribery and corruption in the defense sector,” he said.
Musa-Rafsanjani, however, applauded the increasing oversight activities by various committees in the legislature on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
He noted that oversight especially on contract awards, funds allocation and utilisation, to further sanitise the public sector and ensure greater transparency and accountability across the MDAs was laudable.
He said also that the recent legislative move to back calls for constitutional amendment to grant full autonomy to local government councils in the country, to allow self-determination and people-oriented development at grassroots level, was a good initiative.
Musa-Rafsanjani also commended other initiatives in legislative activities to ensure timely release of funds and cash-backing for the development of the ailing critical sector in the country.
He however advised that production sharing contracts are economically beneficial to the government and should enhance open-door policy for Civil Society legislative engagement.
The CISLAC director advised the NASS to prioritise critical sectors of the economy like health, education and agriculture as well as dilapidated infrastructure facilities across the country.
He said that the appropriation and subsequent approval of N37 billion for NASS rehabilitation in the Appropriation Act, as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, was worrisome in spite under-funding of the nations critical sectors.
He called for the actualisation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund through the 2020 Appropriation Act to provide minimum healthcare package and revitalise Primary Health Care facilities across the country. (NAN)