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Why Niger Delta is yet to develop -Akpabio

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Why Niger Delta is yet to  develop -Akpabio

Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Senator Godswill Akpabio had raised the alarm that gross inadequate funding and dwindling allocation to the ministry may affect President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for the development of Niger Delta region.

Akpabio, who spoke on Tuesday at the 2021 budget presentation before the Senate Committee on Niger Delta, however, solicited the assistance of the committee in shooting up the ministry’s budgetary allocation.

According to him, paucity of funds is responsible for plethora of abandoned and uncompleted projects in the region.

He said the total sum of N26,592,560, 900, 400 proposed for the Ministry of Niger Delta for 2021 “is considered meagre and significantly inadequate in the face of the mandate and goals of the ministry to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the Niger Delta region.”

Analysing the budget, he said: “The capital estimate reveals that the sum of N15,000,000,000 out of N19,533,720,033 for capital infrastructure project was allocated to the East -West Road (Sections I- IV) alone, on the order of Mr. President. This leaves N4,533,720,033 for the other infrastructural projects.”

Akpabio further lamented that gross inadequate funding has led to derailment of the programmes of engagement of youths and women of the region, reduced training for knowledge acquisition, poor performance and protracted delay in project delivery and intermittent disruption by youths who chase away contractors from sites.

Soliciting the assistance, he “arising from the dwindling budgetary allocation and the increasing level of outstanding liabilities, we wish to solicit additional funding to enables the Ministry deliver on Mr. President’s mandate for the Niger Delta region.”

A total budgetary proposal of N26,592,560,040 was allocated to the ministry comprising of N1,443,111,339 for personnel, N877,089,120 for overhead and N24,272,359,581 for capital.

Giving a breakdown of the 2020 budget performance, the minister said “a total sum of N23.45billion was approved as 2020 appropriation after the national budget was amended due to the effect of Covid -19 pandemic.

“The capital, overheads and personnel expenditure budget were in the sum of N21.71billion, N600.1million and N1.14billion respectively. The releases in respect of capital, overheads and personnel expenditure were N10.86bn, N432.64million and N1.026billion, representing 50%, 72% and 99% respectively. The performance in terms of funds released us 10%, 86% and 99% for capital, overheads and personnel expenditure respectively,” he stressed.

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