Friday, February 10, 2012

Ministry Of Niger Delta Affairs: An Exposition On 2009, 2010, 2011& 2012 Budgets: How The Ministry Pauperize The People

Sahara Reporters
8 February 2012

This is a Sahara Reporters Exclusive report

By George-Hill Anthony &‘Tina John-Regional Accountability Centre

Following the creation of the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, expectations of all and sundry were high about the possible for that ministry to turn-around development of the region, but ironically, the existence of the Niger Delta Ministry is yet to such translate the people’s hopes into reality.

At a time when Defence budget is taking a huge chunk of Nigeria’s budgetary provision, it is sad and totally unacceptable to see government Ministries competing with the security agencies for security line-budgets that are directly expended by these MDAs themselves. Between 2009 to 2011, this Ministry had appropriated a total of N2.4 Billion for security alone. If the N371 Million projected for 2012 is added, close to N3 Billion shall be expended on security. At the same time, the State Governments, Local Governments, Oil Companies, Military Formation(s) (JTF) additional sums daily on security. The N3 Billion here described is outside another hundreds of millions budgeted by this Ministry for Oil and Gas Asset Protection Programme,’ which is still under security but given another name and budget heading.  These huge funds can do for an entire year Budget of some LGAs in the Niger Delta.

What is happening!  The question begging for answer is: Why is the Federal Government and the Niger Delta Ministry spending Billions on security in a region where government is spending so much on amnesty programme? Is this huge security expenditure for crime suppression, economic exploitation or for provision of stable social environment and peace?

This same Ministry earlier had allocated N50 Million each   for Shoreline Protection and Canalisation of Aleto and Ekporo Communities in Eleme Local Government in 2011.

Shockingly, these communities are upland with fairly good soil topography. Can the Ministry of Niger Delta and NDDC intentionally allocate figures to projects, which an Agency like the Niger Delta Basin and Rural Development Authority (NDBRDA) had also claimed intervention on? Is this duplication due to absence of inter-agencies intelligence and synergy? If the (MDAs) have held Budget Town Hall Meetings within the region, they could have known the truth of the situation.
NDEBUMOG is curious to know why this Ministry is indisposed to holding Budget Town Hall Meeting(s) within the region, but would rather continue with allocating figures to many of the projects that do not exist? The excuse(s) of lack of AIEs releases from the Budget Office of the Federation (BOF) isn’t holding water, since the Federal Ministry of Finance has not been releasing MDA by MDA disaggregated Budget Performance Reports to Nigerians.

Finally, a comprehensive Desk Review of NDDC, MNDAs, States and Local Governments Budget within the Niger Delta could reveal a catalogue of wastage and fraud. We have taken time and resources to present this because we feel there is need to radically define the way government budgets are formulated and applied.

No comments:

Post a Comment