By Ignatius Okorocha
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio has raised fear that the allocation of just N26.5 billion to the ministry may make difficult to realize President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for the Niger Delta region.
Akpabio on Tuesday at the 2021 budget presentation before the Senate Committee on Niger Delta lamented inadequate and dwindling budgetary allocation and releases over the years.
The Minister who solicited the assistance of the Committee in shooting up the ministry’s budgetary allocation said paucity of funds is responsible for plethora of abandoned and uncompleted projects in the region.
According to him, the total sum of N26,592,560,900 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 narrated that 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.
A total budgetary proposal of the sum 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.