Standing Committees of the Delta State House of Assembly, on Monday, December 4, 2023, began its oversight function with Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of government appearing before relevant Committees to defend their budget allocations for the 2024 fiscal year.
Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Samuel Oligida, Youths Development, Isaac Agbateyiniro, and the Director General, Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency, Chief Patrick Ukah, were among the first sets of officials of the state government that appeared before the Lawmakers for the budget defense sessions.
The House Committee on Delta State Capital TerritoryDevelopment Agency, led by Hon Benson Obire, representing Warri South Two Constituency, at its session with officials of the Agency, tasked the Director General, Chief Patrick Ukah to enhance infrastructural development and beautification of the State capital and its environs.
Obire lauded the initiative of the Agency in beefing up the aesthetic value of the Capital territory areas of the State and enjoined it to ensure increased linkage of roads within its coverage areas.
“DG, I want to particularly thank you for your proposed plans for DSCTDA in the 2024 fiscal year. We partner with you to ensure that that vision becomes fruitful.
“You should begin to work out plans to ensure improved linkage of roads within the Capital Territory. Asaba as it were has no reason to experience bad roads” Hon. Obire said.
Earlier, the Director-General of the Agency, Chief Patrick Ukah informed the committee that the Agency is proposing a Capital Expenditure of N8 Billion for the 2024 fiscal year as it is poised to enhance development in the capital city territory.
Chief Ukah said the sum of Six Billion Naira would be expended for the rehabilitation of ongoing roads in the locality, just as he hinted that about One point Eight Billion is being proposed for the construction of new road infrastructure in Asaba.
The Director General who is the immediate past Secretary to the State Government, said plans are in the offing to ensure that Asaba attains its pride of place as State capital.
Appearing before Hon Collins Egbetamah-led Committee on Trade and Investment, the Commissioner in charge of the Ministry, Sam Oligida said an envelope of N5.2 Billion naira is proposed for the Ministry in the 2024 fiscal year.
Giving a breakdown of the proposed amount, Oligida disclosed that the sum of N2.8 Billion is earmarked for the commercial sector, N2.2 Billion for the industrial sector, the administrative sector N116.5 Million, and N10 Million for the cooperatives in the capital budget expenditure.
The Commissioner told the Lawmakers that given the proposed budget, the Ministry intends to ensure that all ongoing projects under its supervision, are completed in the 2024 fiscal year just as it also plans to commence some new ones.
He noted the commitment of the ministry to facilitating the actualization of the MORE agenda of the State government by ensuring rapid industrial and commercial growth in the State.
On the 2023 budget performance, the Commissioner said, “As of November 30, this year, the amount received for the execution of Capital Projects within the Ministry of Trade and Investment is about N1.1 Billion representing 27.4 percent budget performance.
“However, the overall budget performance of the ministry in the year 2023 so far (including the agro-industrial park, ogwashi-uku, and Ogheye floating market with a total release of about N1.3 Billion) is 30 percent,” Oligida said.
The Chairman of the Committee, Collins Egbetamah who represents Udu constituency, pledged robust synergy with the ministry towards making remarkable achievements in the sector by the state government.
Commissioner for Youth Development, Comrade Issac Agbateyiniro, led the officials of the Ministry to defend its budget proposal before the Assembly Committee on Youth and Sports Development, chaired by Hon Emmanuel Sinebe, representing Patani constituency.
Agbateyiniro disclosed that the ministry has proposed the sum of N1.9billion naira for Capital and non-regular overhead, stating that the ministry intends to increase its Youth engagement programmes, including establishments of Youth Development Centers and Graduate Entrepreneurship Employment Scheme, as well as beef up security at the NYSC Orientation Camp, Isselu-Uku in Aniocha North local government area.
Continuing, he said, “It is my appeal that serious consideration be given to the proposed budget to enable the ministry to achieve its objective for the year 2024 because, the future of our state is in the hands of the youths, hence priority attention should be given to their needs”.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Emmanuel Sinibe, commended the ministry for its track record of meaningful engagement of the youths and other development and called for sustained synergy between the ministry and the House Committee.
In a related development, the Delta State House of Assembly Committee on Youths and Sports Development has expressed displeasure over the increasing neglect of sports facilities in the state, by the Delta State Sports Commission.
The Chairman, of the committee, Hon Emmanuel Sinibe made this known when officials of the Commission appeared before the committee for the defence of the 2024 budget.
Hon. Sinibe said the current State of some of the State-owned Township stadia, particularly the Warri Township Stadium, Koko Township Stadium, Asaba Township Stadium, among others are all in bad shape irrespective of the huge budgetary allocation in the previous years.
Unhappy with the development, the Lawmaker said the committee is now ready to put the commission on its toes by ensuring regular oversight of the activities of the commission.
He said, “There is no need hiding the truth, this committee is not happy with you because you are not doing well.
“We want a change of character and attitude within this commission. Our relationship with you is not cordial.
“In the year 2024, we are going to scale up our oversight function because the relationship between the committee and the commission is not cordial. Prepare for us, we are coming. Just go back and pray” Hon. Sinibe said.
The Director-General of the Commission, Mr. Christopher Anazie who led members of the commission on the budget defence exercise said that the commission is working assiduously to ensure sustainable development in the State sports sector.
Mr. Anazie, while giving a detailed breakdown of the commission’s 2024 budget proposal, hinted that efforts are in top gear to ensure that the State maintains its leading position in sports development.