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Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio has disclosed that over N359billion 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.

Akpabio said bearing in mind the objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari on the completion of ongoing projects, the Niger Delta Ministry was considering raising funds from other sources to ensure the completion of section I-IV of the road before the end 2023.

The minister 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 in Abuja.

Speaking during the presentation, Sen. Akpabio noted that the preparation of the ministry’s budget was conceived in line with the Federal Government‘s2022 Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability premised on repositioning the economy on the path 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”.

“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 Hon. Essien Ekpeyong, assured that the Legislature is committed to the security of lives and investment in the Niger Delta region and for economic and social activities to strive. Therefore, he said, the budget proposal of N25.56 billion would be given due attention in line with the 2021 budgetary review.

He 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.

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