14 July 2015, Abuja – Permanent Secretary, Niger-Delta Ministry, Mrs. Fatima Bamidele, Tuesday, said that paucity of funds in the ministry has stalled the execution of capital projects in the Niger-Delta region.
Bamidele who spoke to State House Corespondents after briefing President Mohammadu Buhari on the mandate, vision and activities of the Ministry said that no releases had been made to the Ministry since August 2014.
Though, the ministry has some budgetary financial provisions, Bamidele said that they are hardly enough to sustain the ministry, a situation which she said had plunged the ministry into huge liabilities.
But despite situation, the Permanent Secretary dropped cheery news on the state of the East West road.
According to her, the road has attained 88 percent completion.
On a similarly note, the Ministry had achieved some feats in its housing projects, completing about 250 out of 400 housing units.
She said: “I came in from the Ministry of Niger Delta on the directive of the President to brief him on the constitution of our ministry, our mandate, our vision, our mission, our activities, our challenges and what we will like his excellency to look into.
“Such challenges include funding. Since August 2014 we have not received any capital up till today. So, a lot of our projects are being stalled and we don’t want abandonment of projects. So we ask that fundings can be sourced for the ministry’s projects?. We also briefed the President on the progress of the East West road which is 88.4% completed.
“On the housing units, we have about 250 completed out of 400 and quite a number of projects that are waiting to be kick started again as a result of lack of funds.
“Yes we have been receiving budget, equally from 2012 till date if you recall adequately, releases from the federal coffers are limited to about 48-50% for most ministries. This invariably has led to accumulation of liabilities for my ministry and other ministries.
“We have done quiet a number of things. Our mandate is first to ensure the economic empowerment of the people. This we have done through the empowerment of women and youth in the Niger Delta. We have trained at least 4000 people in agriculture, maritime activities, ICT.
“Part of our mandate also is to ensure we have peace in the region and to reduce militancy and restiveness amongst the youth. This we have to do through town hall meetings and sensitisation meetings with the people in the area.
“We talked to them and convinced them on the need to work together with the federal government to empower the area and develop the area. The East-West road has increased the economic activities in the area. It has opened up the place to various economic activities.”
Speaking on president’s response to the ministry’s financial state, Bamidele said “The assurances we got from the President like that of every other person is that our case will be looked into.”
On whether the ministry may be merged with another one, she said such did not feature in the briefing.
“We only discussed issues of the ministry and its mandate. We also gave him figures of things the ministry is expected to have done and percentages of what has been achieved. It is government prerogative to take any action on the future of the ministry. We are civil servants, we will just comply”, she said.