The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani has lamented that only 10 percent of the Ministry’s 2018 budget has been accessed.
According to him, only 74 percent was actually accessed in 2017. A trend which is been responsible for many abandoned projects in the region.
The Minister who expressed his concern on the lingering challenge of completing the various housing projects which have been on-going for years now, said the Ministry was considering the option of allocating the houses to various beneficiaries for completion and proper maintenance.
He said this when members of the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta on oversight visited the Ministry in Abuja, recently.
He said, the Ministry is handling housing projects in the nine states of the Niger Delta region, some of which have been completed and awaiting allocation.
On the East West Road Project, Usani said that the Ministry was mandated to transfer Sections 1 to 4 of the project to the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (N.S.I.A) for completion.
He noted that the process of transferring the project may further delay the completion of the flagship project, adding that the Ministry was preparing a response to that directive.
The Minister said only about 74 percent of the budgetary allocation was released to the Ministry from the 2017 Appropriation, as 10 percent has so far been released from the 2018 Appropriation.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Essien Ayi said the mass housing projects in the Niger Delta region had become ‘abandoned projects’ and ‘dens of criminals.’
He said the Committee would advise that the houses be allocated in their uncompleted stages to the rightful beneficiaries and allow them complete the houses while the Ministry deploys subsequent allocations to other projects like skills acquisition Centres which he said will be more beneficial to the indigenes of the Niger Delta region.
Honourable Ayi added that the Committee was in the Ministry to know the level of performance of the 2017 and 2018 Budgets, particularly the funding level of the on-going and new projects in various states in the Niger Delta region.
He reiterated the need for the Ministry to always take input from both the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Niger Delta, in preparing the Ministry’s budget proposals in a bid to reduce to the bearest minimum, Legislative and Executive Friction in budget passage exercise.