PLANS TO SPEND 80% OF 2021 CAPITAL BUDGET ON THE EAST WEST ROAD PROJECT WAS UNACCEPTABLE BY HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON NIGER DELTA
House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta has said the plan by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to spend about 80% of its 2021 capital budget on the East West Road project alone was not acceptable.
The Lawmakers raised their objection when the Minister, Godswill Akpabio approached it at the budget defence session of the Ministry.
The Minister had disclosed that of 19 billion naira earmarked for Capital project 15billion naira will be spent on the East West Road.
The lawmakers expressed concern that the balance of 4billion naira will not be enough to execute other impactful project as well as youth oriented projects in the region.
Members of the committee who took turns to express their displeasure noted that a total budget envelope of 23 billion naira for the Ministry with 9 States under it, is grossly inadequate taking into account that the Ministry’s budget stood at 100 billion naira in 2010 when it was created.
They picked holes in the 70billion naira spent by the ministry on local travel and transport in the face of COVID 19 lockdown.
Lawmakers expressed concern that Over 80% of 2020 budget has youth oriented projects and only 10% of those projects have so far been executed.
In his response, the Minister appealed to the lawmakers to allow the proposed budget for East West road go as the road has lingered for long, noting that President Buhari’s administration was determined to complete the present phase.
On the amount spent on local travels, he said the Ministry was not on locked down but continued with its engagements.
He promised to furnish the committee with the breakdown of the spending. The Committee called for more synergy between the Ministry and Committee and pledged to work together to push the Ministry’s budget back to 100billion naira because that is what is needed to change the fortune of the region.