N359b Billion So Far Expended On East/West Road-Akpabio
L-R: The Minister, MNDA, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Hon. Minister of State, MNDA, Sen. Omotayo Alasoadura, and the Permanent Secretary, MNDA, Dr. Babayo Ardo, during 2021 Budget review and presentation of 2022 Budget Proposal to the House Committee on Niger Delta Affairs
By Ignatius Ushie
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA) Senator Godswill Akpabio has disclosed that over N359 Billion has so far been expended on the 657km dual carriage East-West road stretching from Calabar in Cross River State to Effurun in Delta state since it was initiated in 2006, without the desired benefits
The Hon. Minister said, bearing in mind the objectives of the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari on the completion of on-going projects, the Ministry was considering raising funds from other sources to ensure the completion of section I-IV of the road before the end of this administration.
Sen. Akpabio made this statement during the Ministry’s 2021 Budget Performance review and 2022 proposed budget consideration to the House of Representative Committee on Niger Delta Affairs on Tuesday, 2nd November, 2021 in Abuja.
Speaking during the presentation, Sen. Akpabio recalled that MNDA was created among other things, to implement policies for the infrastructure, environmental, human development and security of the Niger Delta Region. He noted that the preparation of the Ministry’s budget was conceived in line with the Federal Government 2022 Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability premised on repositioning the economy on part of growth and resilience.
While presenting a total Budgetary proposal of the sum of N28,131,295,396 allocated to the Ministry comprising, personal N1,692,591,184, overhead N877,089,120 and capital N25,561,615,092. The Minister noted that, ‘the Ministry ensured that core projects were consistent with the Administrations Agenda Policies/strategies contained in the Medium Term National Development Plan (MTNDP), 2021-2025, according priority to on-going projects.
According to Sen. Akpabio, “the 2022 Budgetary Allocation is meagre and significantly inadequate in the face of the mandate and goals of the Ministry to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people. The volume of the outstanding liabilities with underfunding has affected ongoing projects/programmes of the Ministry across the region and this is gradually contributing to the resurgence of problems in some areas of the region”, he said.
Speaking earlier, during the budget presentation the Chairman House of Representative Committee on Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA) Hon. Essien Ekpeyong assured that the Assembly is committed to the security of lives and investment in the Niger Delta Region and for the economic and social activities to strive. Therefore, the budget proposal of N25.56 billion naira would be given due attention in line with the 2021 budgetary review.
The Chairman of the Committee explained that there was need for the Executive and Legislature to work together to ensure that thousands of uncompleted projects scattered across the region are completed for the betterment of the life of the people.
He also noted that the House would also consider if there were challenges that would require legislative intervention particularly in the area of funding in respect of the East-West Road by setting up committee to work with the Ministry in this regard.