More government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, MDAs on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, appeared before the Standing Committees of the Delta State House of Assembly to defend their 2024 budget proposals.
The officials in their presentations briefed the Lawmakers on the budget performances of the MDAs in the outgoing year and defended their proposed plans for 2024.
Describing budget defense by the Standing Committees of the State Assembly by government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies as constitutional, the Chairman House Committee on Works and Special Projects, Hon. Oboro Preyor, said the annual exercise was meant to help MDAs fast-track their budget allocations.
Hon. Preyor who represents Bomadi constituency in the House, explained that budget defence does not only foster transparency but also promotes accountability which he said was the hallmark of good governance.
The Lawmaker stated that ministries appearing before standing committees should see themselves as partners in progress to foster economic progress.
Preyor, emphasized that the session was geared towards transparency which would help to strengthen the actualization of electioneering promises to the people of the State.
Commissioner for Works, Rural and Riverine Roads, Charles Aniagwu, who spoke on behalf of himself and the two other Commissioners in the Ministry of Works, Reuben Izeze, Highways and Urban Roads and Funyei Manager, Special Projects, told the Committee that the sum of N150billion has been proposed for Capital expenditure and over N500 million for recurrent expenditure.
He disclosed that within the past eight years, the Ministry had executed more than 912 projects with a total value of N886.9 Billion between May 2015 and November 2023.
According to Aniagwu, “The projects include 2,146,45 kilometers of roads and 1,251.80 kilometers of drainage channels. The balance amount required to complete all the projects undertaken is N389.3 billion.”
According to him, the road projects embarked upon in the three senatorial districts of the State will be vigorously pursued to completion in actualization of the MORE agenda of the present administration in the state.
Mr. Aniagwu explained that Works is a key sector in development, disclosing that in the year under review, the Ministry intends to enhance job creation and the evacuation of farm produce from agrarian rural communities to storage and processing centers with multiplier effects of boosting agriculture and industrialization.
He emphasized that the Ministry through its core mandate also intends to check youth restiveness through meaningful engagement of the people, engender wealth creation, enhance accessibility to health and educational institutions in urban and remote areas as well as improve the network of inter- intra-city roads in the state.
The Works Commissioner noted that the galloping inflation, decline in the value of the naira, unpredictable construction season due to global warming and funding have been major challenges in the smooth running of the Ministry.
Aniagwu commended members of the Assembly Committee on Works and Special Projects for their support.
The Works Committee also met with the Management of the Direct Labour Agency led by the Acting Director General, Engr. Henry Emonena.
Chairman of the Committee, Oboro Preyor, charged the officials to live up to the Government’s expectation of being an interventionist agency.
He said, “We are working hard to ensure that DLA is revived. This is because, as an interventionist agency, DLA has much to do for Deltans.
“We are aware of what has gone wrong at the Agency. However, we are not going to probe into the past, but to advise that you turn a new leaf and work on your attitude as staff of the agency.
“My advise to you as chairman of this committee is for you to ensure that whatever fund that may be appropriated should be managed appropriately.
“Again, you should be ready to address your image problem. We know what transpired within the agency, but we are appealing to you to turn a new leaf.
“There is no doubt that this present government is ready to revitalize the Agency, but you must assure us that you will be prudent and transparent in all your dealings,” Preyor said.
The Director General Mr. Henry Emonena had told the Committee that N24 million budget proposal was for regular overhead while N2 billion for Capital expenditure.
The House Committee on Information which has the Majority Leader of the State Assembly, Hon Emeka Nwaobi as the Chairman, met with the managements of the State Ministry of Information, the two government-owned broadcast stations, Delta Broadcasting Service, DBS Asaba and Warri, and the Pointer newspaper with the functioning Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Lucky Omokri as head of the team.
Speaking with newsmen immediately after the session, Hon Emeka Nwaobi said the state government is determined to beef up DBS and Pointer newspaper operations to ensure excellent services.
Nwaobi stated that a uniformed society is as good as being blind to the realities of the times, especially government activities, and promised the commitment of the State Legislature to promoting efficiency in the media establishments.