Senate panel suspends budget session over attacks
Akpabio faults N26.5b vote for N’Delta ministry
The Senate Committee on Interior, yesterday, suspended its budget defence session for agencies under its watch following attacks from #EndSARS and COVID-19 palliatives protesters.
The committee chairman, Senator Kashim Shetima, acknowledged that most of the paramilitary organisations were victims, as their offices were either vandalised or torched by the assailants. Since they have submitted their votes, he said there were no compelling issues to hold them back.
MEANWHILE, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has faulted the N26, 592,560,040 allocated to the ministry in the 2021 budget, describing it as “meagre and grossly inadequate.”
He spoke during a sitting of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs.
The two-term former governor of Akwa Ibom State said his reservations were informed by the ambitious mandate and goals of the ministry. He warned that poor funding could alter the existing peace in the oil-rich region through youth restiveness.
The minister added that paucity of funds would make it difficult for his ministry to meaningfully engage youths and women besides reducing capacity for training.
Akpabio, however, appealed to the Senator Peter Nwaoboshi-led panel to review the allocation upward.
According to him, capital expenditure is gulping N24, 272,359,581; personnel, N1, 443,111,339, while overhead takes N877, 089,120.He added that N2.240 billion would be spent on housing and urban development; community development and education to get N265 million and economic empowerment is benefitting N980 million.
The sum of N963, 639,361.04 was voted for environmental management and N60, 000,000 goes to general services.
The minister also hinted that of the N19, 533,720,033.30 earmarked for infrastructure development, N15 billion would be expended on the East West highway, and N4.5 billion for other road projects.
Moreover, planning, research and statistics got N120 million, monitoring and evaluation, N70 million; and N60.4 million assigned to survey.