The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs’ 2020 budget of N23b was rejected by the Senate Committee on Niger Delta on Monday, October 21.
The Ministry’s 2020 budget was rejected on grounds of not capturing major ongoing projects in its capital appropriation.
While other senators stated that the Niger Delta Ministry’s budget needs to be increased, the senate committee chairman Peter Nwaoboshi asked for a re-presentation as he also pointed out that there are so many abandoned projects in the nine oil-producing states.
He said: “There is no state, I dare to say, there is no local government where there are no abandoned projects in the Niger Delta.“We cannot continue like that. With all the abandoned projects in the Niger Delta, we are talking about new projects; these new projects are designed to fail.
“Honourable Minister, we need to look at this budget again and we expect you to do your cleanup because the documents we needed were not supplied to us.”According to him, “proliferation of abandoned projects cannot continue.” He averred that President Buhari has not commissioned any completed project in the Niger Delta in the last 4 years.
However speaking to newsmen after defending his ministry’s budget, Godswill Akpabio denied claim of its rejection. He asked the lawmakers to join him in appealing to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to increase the capital component of the ministry’s budget.
The Nation reported that he said the ministry’s capital budget cannot complete a 10kilometre road in the region. He said: “An analysis of the 2020 budget estimates reveals that an average sum of N2,626,705,599.00 is allocated to each of the nine states of the region based on the capital ceiling.
“This amount, which is expected to cater for roads, environment, health, social inclusion and provision of water, which are priority needs of the people of the region, in accordance with the ERGP, cannot conveniently pay for a quality 10km road in any part of the states in the region, thus underscoring the inadequacy of the ceiling given to the ministry.
“This gross inadequate funding has led over the years to the following: a plethora of abandoned/uncompleted projects, protracted delay in project delivery, negative perception of the ministry, loss-of-faith in the Federal Government by the people of the region, and difficulty in the realisation of Mr. President’s vision for the region.”