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Governors allege poor implementation of federal budgets in South East

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[File] South-East Governors Forum

South East governors yesterday expressed dissatisfaction with the implementation of federal budgets in the zone.

According to them, the region has continued to be allegedly shortchanged in projects’ execution and the likes.

This comes as a report on the performance of the 2017 federal budget indicated that the construction of the Second Niger Bridge in Onitsha, Anambra State was never captured in the document.

At the presentation of the report they organised in collaboration with some non-governmental organisations, including Hope Givers Initiative, Christian Aid and Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn in Enugu, the governors called on the Federal Government to faithfully implement this year’s budget for the zone in view of a plethora of projects needing attention.

Represented by the Director General of the South East Governors Forum, Prof. Simeon Otuanya, the state chief executives noted that the budgets were designed to ensure the restoration of the national economy on the path of sound and sustainable growth across all sectors and geographical spaces around the country.

They stressed that the government at the centre should fulfil expectations of the public.

Their words: “We believe that such re-balancing must take into consideration the concepts of equity and fairness vertically and horizontally in order to develop every nook and cranny of the nation.

We will continue to work as think tanks to review budget allocations and implementations at the state and national levels for all the years forward with special interest on how they are helping the region towards economic renaissance.”

An economist and fellow presenter of the document, Dr. Uzochukwu Amakom, stated that projects allocated to the South East in the 2017 budget were either not started, abandoned, poorly executed or still ongoing.

On the Second Niger Bridge, he explained that the project, which was proposed at an initial cost of N117 billion in 2013 and later adjusted to include railing and increase in the number of lanes from two to three, has never been captured in the budget.

“The project, which is supposed to have been completed in four years after its foundation stone laying ceremony in 2013, is still at the primary stage. Progress of work is very slow.

“Although the work was started with Julius Berger, they are yet to be awarded the contract formally.

This was the story of the people at the site and was confirmed by the ministry.

We made efforts to speak to the Controller of Works in Awka to clear the matter without success at the time,” Amakom added.


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