The House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta has received the 2020 budget of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs with a commitment to work on grey areas and pass a budget that will impact on the lives of the people of the region.
To this end, the Committee has set up a five-man committee to harmonize the budget proposal to ensure that some pending projects in 2019 budget are completed before embarking on new ones.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Rt. Hon. Essien Ayi set up the Committee during the 2020 budget defence by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the Minister of State, Senator Tayo Alasoadura on Tuesday 22nd, October 2019, in Abuja.
The budget harmonization committee which will be chaired by the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta, Hon. Henry Nwawuba, is expected to liaise with the Senate counterpart to ensure that some uncompleted projects in the 2019 budget proposal are reflected in the 2020 appropriation bill.
According to Hon. Ayi, the Committee is committed to passing a justifiable budget proposal that will encourage peace and sustainable development in the Niger Delta region. The Chairman noted that all MDAs are not allowed to embark on new projects unless provisions are made for the completion of all pending projects.
He stressed the need for the Upper and Lower Chambers to be on the same page to produce a workable budget that will create employment opportunities, peace, and sustainable development in the region.
Earlier during his presentation, the Hon. Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio said that the Ministry’s budget was based on the 2020 extant circular which directed MDAs to roll over about 60% of their 2019 capital budget to 2020.
According to the Minister, emphasis was also laid on completion of ongoing projects and introduction of vital projects that would have direct impact on the people of Niger Delta region.
He said that the reduction of Capital Projects from N35.2b in 2019 to N23b in 2020 increased the challenges of government commitment in developing the Niger Delta region.
The Honourable Minister said the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs will comply with the directives of the National Assembly to list out all uncompleted projects in the 2019 budget proposal and ensure that they are reflected in the 2020 appropriation bill, but may have zero funding due to the meagre envelop given to the Ministry.
He called on the National Assembly to appeal to the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to consider the upward review of the 2020 budget proposal for the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
Senator Akpabio noted that the Ministry’s projects are aimed at restoring economic growth, investing in the Niger Delta people, and building a globally competitive economy.