There is zero allocation for federal roads in Rivers State in the 2014 Federal Government budget, it was learnt yesterday.
This led to the walking out on the budget defence session of the Ministry of Works by a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dakuku Peterside, (APC, Rivers).
Some members of the Committee also raised concerns over some projects in the Northeast and the Northwest, as Umar Abubakar Sade (Bauchi/PDP) alleged that projects in Northeast had been abandoned.
Peterside said: “I checked the document and saw that there’s no single allocation for the projects in Rivers State,” adding that he would excuse himself from the session in order not to get angry.” He then walked out.
Minister of Works Mike Onolomemen however insisted that there was no political undertone to the development. He said the executive had no issue against Rivers State.
“There were challenges with the contracts awarded last year. The contractor could not access his money as at when due from the finance ministry,” he said, adding that efforts were on to make amends.”
The breakdown of the ministry’s budget showed that N161b was proposed for capital projects. The Ministry will take N141b while its agencies take N20b.
The inability of Nigeria to meet its financial obligations to the various international organisations to which Nigeria belong has become an embarrassment, the supervising Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Afgairs, Prof. Viola Adaku Onwuliri said yesterday.
Onwuliri said the accumulated recurrent debts incurred by all the 119 foreign missions across the world added to the embarrassment.
The minister spoke yesterday while defending the ministry’s budget.
Chairman of the Committee, Nnenna Elendu Ukeje, asked the minister if the country has debt concerns with her diplomatic levies.
The Minister said: “Yes, although, the diplomatic debts are under the schedule of the Ministry, the payment of diplomatic levies is solely handled by the Ministry of Finance”.
Minister of Power Prof. Chinedu Nebo said without more fund, the country would not be able to attain the 10,000 mega watts of electricity before the end of the year.
Nebo, during the defence of the ministry’s N59,051,290,389b budget for the Ministry and the six agencies under it.
He also stated that areas of priority for the ministry in the current year included the completion of 215MW Kaduna power project, completion of bankable feasibility studies on 17 small/medium hydropower sites, coal-fired Power Plants at Enugu/Gombe axis.
He also said the ministry was ready to fast track the development of 70MW Zungeru hydropower projects, fast track Operation Electrify Nigeria Project, development of the power component of 40MW Kashimbilla Multiple purpose Dam, fast track the completion of the Power Component of 34MW Dandinkowa Dam in Gombe State among others.