…as NASS tasks Minister on effective project delivery
By Onome Oghenetega
The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has earmarked over N41 billion as budget for the year 2019.
The minister, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, in a statement signed by deputy director of Press and Public Relations, Stephen Kilebi and made available to newsmen, presented a draft of the budget, summed at N41,600,274,568 to the respective National Assembly committees on the Niger Delta, on Thursday in Abuja.
The amount the statement said covers Capital, Overhead and Personnel Appropriation for year 2019.
The meeting which also saw the minister’s defense of the 2018 budget, revealed that at least 80 projects including roads, water, electricity, housing, blocks of classroom, food and cassava processing plants, health care centres, empowerment programmes, peace and security sensitization, among others, were completed within the year across the nine Niger Delta states.
Pastor Usani added that the implementation of the 2018 capital budget was still on-going, with more capital projects to be completed before June.
Stating that 2019’s budget is in tandem with President Muhammadu Buhari’s drive to move Nigeria to the ‘next level’ Usani said, “the core projects earmarked for execution in the fiscal year 2019 are indeed consistent with the programmes spelt out in the budget guidelines”.
However, Chairmen of the committees on Niger Delta in the Senate and House of Representatives have tasked the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs on effective and quality projects delivery.
Chairman of the committee in the Senate, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, who warned that budgetary allocations will be diverted to other ministries if not used for the development of the region, said findings from the committee’s oversight visits will determine it consideration of the Ministry’s 2019 appropriation.
“If we discover that you do not deserve the money allocated to you by Mr. President, we will ensure that such money is given to other Ministries or agencies that need it. But if we also discover that the money allocated to you is smaller than what you require, we will source for other areas of raising funds for you,” Senator Nwaoboshi stated.
On his part, Chairman, House Committee on Niger Delta, Honourable Essien Ayi urged the ministry to hand over completed housing schemes to the beneficiaries, adding that his Committee was interested in the completion of on-going capital projects in the area.