In line with constitutional provisions, more Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, MDAs of the State Government, on Wednesday, November 6, 2023, took their turns to defend their 2024 budget proposals before relevant Standing Committees of the Delta State House of Assembly.
The exercise was held simultaneously at the various Committee Rooms of the State Assembly Complex in Asaba, the state capital.
Addressing Commissioners and top government functionaries in the education sector of the state, the Chairman House Committee on Education, Charles Emetulu, enumerated the importance of unity in fostering progress in any given task.
Hon Emetulu who represents Ndokwa West in the State Assembly, said Governor Sheriff Oborevwori places priority on the educational sector, hence the huge budgetary allocations apportioned to it.
He urged the management of all the Ministries in the Education sector and their affiliate boards and agencies to work together in realizing the set goals of the state government for the educational sector.
He said “Let me use this opportunity to again charge all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies in the Delta State education sector to rise to the task of justifying the State government’s huge investments in the sector.
“The State Government is investing heavily in the education sector and we want genuine returns on our investment. We are investing in our people for us to continue to poll an enlightened population.
“This government is interested in having a skilled population and anything that would undermine that, this legislature will not condone it.
“The whole idea is not to witch-hunt anyone but to ensure that we protect our people; the ordinary Deltans” Emetulu stated”.
The Lawmaker and other members of the Committee who spoke at the budget defense session also charged key players in the sector to live up to expectations to ensure excellent budgetary performance in the 2024 fiscal year.
Commissioner in charge of Technical and Vocational Education, Hon. Joan Oyemaechi, Primary Education, Kingsley Ashibogwu, and Secondary Education, Rose Ezewu as well as the Permanent Secretary, State Universal Education Board, Subeb, Mr Brayan Unini, took turns to explain the challenges and prospects in the various MDAs under their supervision.
The Chairman, Education Committee, Charles Emetulu, also asked officials of the Post Primary Education Board, PPEB, the State Library Board, the Adult and Non-Formal Educational Board, the Institute of Continuing Education, ICE, and the Delta State Scholarship and Bursary Board, to submit their budget proposals to the Committee for scrutiny.
Hon. Emetulu stressed the need for enhanced efficiency in the boards in line with global reforms and best practices.
In a related development, the Hon. Bridget Anyafulu-led House Committee on Housing, Women Affairs, Girl Child and Humanitarian Support Services, at its sitting, implored the Ministry of Housing to work in line with the visions of the MORE agenda of the state government.
She explained that the functions of the ministry were key to the development strides of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori.
Hon. Anyafulu who represents Oshimili South in the House, pointed out the need for the Ministry to enhance its budget performance in 2024, stressing that Deltans are in serious need of good and affordable housing.
”As a ministry, you must ensure fiscal discipline and must also look at the philosophy behind budgeting. You must also ensure that as you manage the resources within your power, you must be able to manage the Human Resources so that you can achieve better results,” she said.
”Budget defense is the beginning of budget implementation. You have to ensure that the strategic planning of the ”MORE agenda” is adequately implemented,” she said.
Anyafulu urged the ministry to ensure that whatever was allocated to it was used judiciously, even as she commended the ministry for its achievements in 2023.
Commissioner for Housing, Godknows Angele, told the Lawmakers that the 2024 budget was hinged on the completion of ongoing projects and the initiation of a few new ones when necessary.
Angele said the revised budget Capital Estimate for the ministry for 2023 was N15.1 billion naira.
Commissioner for Girl Child Development and Humanitarian Support Services, Orode Uduaghan, also led officials of the Ministry to appear before the House Committee on Housing, Women Affairs, Girl Child and Humanitarian Support Services.
Uduaghan assured the committee members of her readiness to surpass achievements recorded in the outgoing 2023 in the Ministry in the 2024 financial year.
Chairman, Hon Bridget Anyafulu, while addressing the Commissioner and her team, emphasized the need for fiscal discipline in implementing the 2024 budget.
Hon Anyafulu noted that budget defense is the first step to budget implementation, maintaining that such would ensure financial prudence as well as attract more dividends of democracy to the people.
She also advised MDAs under her watch, to think outside the box by working towards strengthening and achieving the MORE agenda of the present administration.
The Committee also met with the Ministry of Women Affairs led by its commissioner Hon. Pat Ajudua, a former member of the State Legislature.
Hon. Ayanfulu congratulated the non-sitting member of the state legislature for her appointment as Commissioner, saying that she was confident of her ability to manage the affairs of the Women Affairs Ministry.