Where did the money go?
6 July 2011
*As Orubebe laments insufficient funds
ABUJA-Indications emerged yesterday that the Federal Government is seeking alternative means of funding Niger Delta projects, as the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has ran into debts on the East-West road project.
Elder Godswill Orubebe, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, after his inaugural meeting with the management of the Ministry said that Niger Delta projects were being delayed by lack of funds. N55 billion was appropriated for Niger Delta projects and other sundry activities, out of the Ministry’s N155 billion budget estimate.
He said government was looking at alternative means of funding the development of the region as the issue was beyond annual budgetary provisions.
According to him, there are too many competing demands for available resources at the disposal of the government.
The Niger Delta Minister said the East-West road and skill acquisition centres were among projects being held up due to lack of funds.
He said: “The framework and structure of the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry is ready, what is probably lacking is the funding of the project and the programmes of the ministry. If we have the funds available now, that job would have gone up between 70 percent and 80 percent.
“A lot of the contractors are not working today because the funds are not there for the project to go on. If you look at 2011 budget, that East-West road, there are contractors we owe over N7 billion to N8 billion but the budget has a provision of N1.5 billion.