A former Head of State, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday described the ongoing national conference as a waste of public funds.
He said at the opening of the inaugural edition of the PGF Progressive Governors-Legislative-Civil Society Roundtable in Abuja, that the huge amount being spent on the entire process, should have been put to better use.
Buhari, an All Progressives Congress national leader, argued that what the conference was trying to achieve was what the National Assembly was in a better position to do.
He said, “What I say about the conference is a personal view. What the conference is doing is the duty of the National Assembly.
“The elite should have call themselves together and ask the National Assembly to sponsor a bill for some amendments to the constitution.
“I do not think that at this time when government is finding it difficult to pay salaries of workers, it can afford about N7bn to waste on a conference.”
Also at the event, Senator Bukola Saraki said the current administration needed to be more transparent in the management of the nation’s funds.
He explained that the lack of transparency was partly responsible for the impunity of the Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government.
Saraki said, it was only in Nigeria that a President could afford to commit an impeachable offence by spending huge public revenue outside appropriation without consequences.
He argued that the money being spent on the national conference was not contained in the 2014 budget.
“I told my colleagues that it might probably be coming from the missing $20bn.” Saraki, a former Kwara State governor and APC leader added.
He also noted that the controversial subsidy regime posed a great danger to the economy itself.
The lawmaker said, “Let us not allow anybody to deceive us; the problem is not the subsidy but it’s management.
“The country does not use more 35 million litres of PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) while a look at cost profile shows a huge difference that indicates that we cannot consume more 35 million litres.”
According to him, an efficient petrol subsidy management can solve most of the problems being experienced in the country.
The Director General of the PGF, Salisu Lukeman, said concerns over institutionalised corruption informed the forum’s decision to liaise with APC members in the National Assembly to do something to keep the fight against graft in the front burner.
Lukeman explained that the outcome of the interface would form the basis of new strategies to fight corruption.
Also, the Deputy Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Abu Ibrahim, said the round table was the first of its kind in the country.
He said that APC members in the National Assembly would try to push through the resolutions at the round table in the National Assembly.
The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajamila, said the party had once again taken up topics that are germane to national development.
He explained that the party, through roundtable, had made it very clear that good governance was its priority.