By Jacinta Nwachukwu
Abuja – The Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Niger Delta had emphasised the need for effective implementation of budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
They expressed this in a statement signed by Mr Stephen Kilebi, Deputy Director, Press/Public Relations of the ministry on Friday in Abuja.
The Chairmen of the committees, Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi and Rep. Essien Ayi, disclosed this during the 2018 Budget Defence and presentation of the 2019 Draft Budget by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Usani Usani.
Nwaoboshi said: “if we discover that you do not deserve the money allocated to you, we will ensure that such money is given to others 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.”
Nwaoboshi added that the Ministry should ensure timely completion of projects that are beneficial to the people of the region.
He said that findings of the committees during oversight visits would be the major deciding factors for the consideration of the Ministry’s 2019 Appropriation.
Earlier, Ayi said his Committee was interested in the completion of ongoing capital projects in the region.
He said that the committee witnessed a number of uncompleted projects during its visits to the region.
He, however, advised that completed housing schemes in the region by the Ministry should be handed over to the beneficiaries to address their housing needs.
Usani, while presenting a draft budget of N41,600,274,568 covering capital, overhead and personnel appropriation for 2019, said that about 80 per cent projects in the region were completed.
He listed the projects to include roads, water, electricity, housing, blocks of classroom, food and cassava processing plants, health care centres and empowerment programmes.
Others are sensitisation on peace and security, medical outreaches, land reclamation and erosion control, among others,
He said all these were completed within the 2018 budget year across the nine states of the Niger Delta region.
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.
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.
He also said that the Ministry would continue to ensure that quality jobs are delivered to the people and residents of the Niger Delta region by contractors.