Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Tuesday, described the sum of N26,592billion allocated to the ministry in the 2021 budget as meagre and grossly inadequate.
Akpabio gave this indication when he defended the ministry’s 2021 budget estimates before the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, chaired by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (Delta North) before the Committee went into a closed session.
He disclosed that out of the N26.5billion 2021 budget proposal, Capital expenditure would gulp N24,272,359,581.00, Personnel – N1,443,111,339.00 and Overhead – N877,089,120.00.
He said that N2.240billion would be spent on Housing and Urban Development, Community Development and Education – N265million, Economic Empowerment – N980million, Environmental Management N963,639,361.04 and General Services – N60,000,000.00.
He added that out of the N19,533,720,033.30 earmarked for Infrastructure Development, N15billion would be spent on the East West Road and N4.5billion for other road projects.
He said that Planning, Research and Statistics would gulp N120million, Monitoring and evaluation – N70million N60.4million would be spent on Survey.
On challenges confronting the Ministry, he said that the 2021 budgetary proposal of N26,592,560,040.00 for the Ministry was considered meagre and significantly inadequate in the face of the mandate and goals of the Ministry.
Akpabio said: “An analysis of the 2021 capital budget estimate reveals that the sum of N15billion out of the N19.533billion for capital infrastructural projects was allocated to the East-West Road (Section I-IV) alone based on agreement between the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
“This leaves N4.533billion for other infrastructural road projects. Our budget is not enough. We have 25 on-going projects and we have to drop some of them.
“If we have more money, we would have put more money on the East-West Road and other projects,” he said.
He warned that poor funding could destabilize peace in the Niger-Delta region through intermittent disruption by youths.
He added that the scarcity of funds would make it difficult for the ministry to meaningfully engage the youths and women; as well as reduce the Ministry’s capacity for training.
The Minister however appealed to the Senate Nwaoboshi-led Committee to use its power of appropriation to increase the budget of the Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs.