OrderPaperToday – A civil society organization, DataPhyte, has revealed that 65% of the 2021 Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIPs), otherwise known as constituency projects, have little or no sustainable impact on communities.

The findings follow a comparative analysis to appraise how the 2021 ZIPs meets the underlying goals of providing grassroots empowerment interventions and supplementing infrastructural development to underserved communities across the country.

Constituency projects (ZIPs) are executed by federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) based on the submission of the members of the federal legislature from both chambers of the national assembly.

In a press release, DataPhyte noted that the analysis was triggered by the myriads of abandoned, poorly implemented and untraceable projects reported by Tracka, UDEME, Follow-the-Money, Budeshi, and ConsTrack.

Dataphyte carried out a comparative analysis of hard projects (infrastructure, works and construction) and soft projects (training, distribution of equipment, gifting of goods, and cash handouts) in the 2021 zonal intervention budget document.

An analysis of the 1,884 projects in the 2021 ZIP shows that 65 percent of these projects can be categorised as soft projects which includes training, cash grants, and goods and supplies.

According to DataPhyte, soft projects are so called because the outputs or outcome are intangible or transient in value to individual beneficiaries or communities and only satisfy a few individuals, who are linked to the politicians doling out the ‘empowerment’ benefits, rather than the general populace who would have benefited equally from infrastructure projects.

Dataphyte’s program lead, Charles Mba, said soft projects are challenging to track and difficult to measure impact across the constituencies of the lawmakers, adding that, by their nature, they totally defeat the purpose of the zonal interventions and lend disservice to the intended investments in the grassroots.

DataPhyte reports shows that ₦64.78 billion out of the allocated N100 billion will be spent on soft projects implying that more than 3 out of every 5 Zonal Intervention Projects approved by the National Assembly for the year 2021 are soft projects.

Only 35 per cent of these projects are hard projects which will benefit the entire community in form of constructions and other capital projects.

Joshua Olufemi, Founder of Dataphyte, lamented that the federal government has spent trillions of naira to alleviate infrastructural gaps at the grassroots without visible impact on the populace.

He recommended that needs assessment should be a compulsory prerequisite for appropriating constituency projects, adding that lawmakers should consult citizens before they conceive ZIPs.

Olufemi further proposed that implementing agencies within the executive arm should only request finance for projects they can complete.

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