The Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Niger Delta have emphasised the need for effective implementation of budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, for the benefits of the people of the Niger Delta region.
This view was expressed by the Chairmen of the committees on Niger Delta when the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani led the Ministry’s delegation to the National Assembly for the 2018 Budget Defence and presentation of the 2019 Draft Budget in Abuja, on Thursday.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi noted: “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 will 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.”
One of the mandates of the ministry of Niger Delta is to coordinate the activities of the State Liaison Offices in the nine (9) States of the Niger Delta Region, namely; Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers, and ensure proper administrative management of the State Offices and maintenance of account among other functions.
The ministry also coordinates efforts to tackle the challenges of infrastructural development, environment protection and youth empowerment in the Niger Delta
Senator Nwaoboshi added that the Ministry should ensure timely completion of projects that would benefit the people of the Niger Delta region, while charging it to do away with those projects he tagged, ‘less important.’
He hinted that the discoveries from the committee’s oversight visits to the region would be the major deciding factors for the consideration of the Ministry’s 2019 Appropriation.
Earlier, the Chairman, House Committee on Niger Delta, Honourable Essien Ayi said his Committee was interested in the completion of on-going capital projects in the Niger Delta region, saying that the committee, in its last oversight visit to various projects of the Ministry in the region witnessed a number of uncompleted projects.
Hon. Ayi also advised that completed housing schemes in the Niger Delta region by the Ministry should be handed over to the beneficiaries to address their housing need.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, while presenting a draft budget of N41,600,274,568 covering Capital, Overhead and Personnel Appropriation for 2019 before the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Niger Delta, disclosed that about 80 projects- roads, water, electricity, housing, blocks of class room, food and cassava processing plants, health care centres, empowerment programmes, sensitisation on peace and security, medical outreaches, land reclamation and erosion control, among others, were completed within the 2018 budget year across the nine states of the Niger Delta region.
Pastor Usani said that the implementation of the 2018 Capital Budget was still on-going, adding that more capital projects would still be completed before June, 2019.
He said that the Ministry was guided by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration’s determination to move the country to the Next Level, in preparing the budget. “The core projects earmarked for execution in the fiscal year 2019 are indeed consistent with the programmes spelt out in the Budget guidelines,“ he reiterated.
The Minister stressed that his Ministry will continue to ensure that quality jobs are delivered to the people and residents of the Niger Delta region by contractors.