Akpabio: FG Needs More Sources to Fund Projects
Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio has advised the federal government to explore other avenues to fund developmental projects as the poor budgetary allocation to the ministry is grossly inadequate.
Addressing journalists on Monday after the defence of the ministry’s N23bn budget, Akpabio said the request by Senators for the increase in the number of projects in the Niger Delta is laughable as there are no funds available to execute them.
He urged the lawmakers to appeal to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to increase the budget of the Niger Delta which is littered with lots of abandoned and ongoing projects.
He said: “If you look at it very well, it’s not possible for you to capture all projects with that amount and it is not going to be possible to even complete even 10km of road individually.”
“So I think that the distinguished Senators should collectively make an appeal to the ministry of finance, budget and national planning to improve upon the envelope and to expand it a little so it can capture at least substantially most of the yearnings and aspirations of the good people of Niger Delta.”
On his part, the Minister of State, Tayo Alasadura, added that the request for the increase in projects is impracticable as 60% of the current budget is meant to fund ongoing projects leaving 40% only for new ones.
“We will be allocating very poultry amount of money to all the projects, and at the end of the day, it will not make sense or favour anybody and it will be a budget designed to fail.”
“So if we have 300 projects and we have money that can capture only 150, why put everything there and allocate small amounts of money that will not make any difference at the end of the day.”
“So we have chosen very carefully based on needs, based on good spread, etc; those projects that we have allocated money”, concluded Alasadura.
The Senate committee on Niger Delta expressed frustration at the number of abandoned projects in the region and adjourned to next Monday.