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    HomeNewsDespite poor performance, Akume wants more funding for special duties ministry

    Despite poor performance, Akume wants more funding for special duties ministry

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    …..blames envelope system for failure

    By Ekebuisi Okorocha, Abuja

    The Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume has called for allocation of additional funds to the Ministry.

    This even as the Akume complain that  the current allocations and envelop system to his Ministry was  extremely difficult for it  to function effectively.

    The Minister made the appeal when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Special Duties to defend the Ministry’s budget for 2023 yesterday.

    He told the lawmakers that the sum of N180 billion allocated to the Ministry for 2023 representing 71% reduction in the budget for the previous year is grossly inadequate to accomplish the sweeping mandate of the Ministry.

    According to him, “the envelope system has further incapacitated the ability of the Ministry to achieve its mandate to monitor special projects and interventions of the Federal Government as well as the implementation of constituency projects in care of members of the National Assembly.”

    He said the lack of funds has greatly affected the Ministry’s ability to drive the National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy, a 

    Presidential initiative of the current administration aimed at pulling 100 million citizens out of poverty.

    The Minister further noted that the Presidential initiative has the capacity to generate millions of direct employment opportunities for farmers in the cottage industry and others in the value chain. 

    He however lamented that the paucity of funds has hampered proper execution of the project under his watch. 

    He said the same situation has crippled the Ministry’s ability to discharge its responsibilities and achieve desired results in the area of its Inter-Governmental affairs to enhance relationship between the 774 Local Government Areas and the Federal Government. 

    He also lamented that  even the simple task of establishing a common platform for Local Government Chairmen and Special Duties officials for collaborations and have a Central dashboard to monitor projects have proved difficult to achieve.

    Responding to the Minister’s lamentations, a member of the Senate Committee, Senator Isiaku Abboh, (APC, Adamawa North), sympathized with the tight corner the Minister has found himself.

     He noted that the paucity of funds appears to be a deliberate ploy to render the Ministry incapacitated to carry out its role to monitor special projects in the country and demand accountability from erring contractors and deny Nigerians the benefits of projects to which millions of Naira are appropriated for yearly.

    The Adamawa state born lawmaker questioned the rationale behind an arrangement that allocates money that is more than that of the Ministry of Trade and Investments, Health and Education put together  to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management.

    He called on the Minister to assert his authority more if he hopes to achieve anything and leaves his footprints in the sands of time.

    ” I think you’re too gentle. I also think this ministry is been deliberately incapacitated. I do not see how you hope to achieve the Ministry mandate to coordinate agencies and constituency projects as well as special projects and initiatives starved of funds.

    “If anyone wants to achieve anything in our system, that person must have some element of “madness”, he said.

    Other lawmakers including the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Special Duties, Yusuf Yusuf  backed the request of the Minister for more funds to the Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs in the 2023 budget characterized by massive slash in the purse of virtually all the the Ministries and their agencies.

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