The outstanding debt owed the contractors handling the East West road is higher than the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs' (MNDA) 2017 capital budget of N34.20 billion, the Minster overseeing the Ministry, Usani Uguru has said.
Usani who made this known yesterday at the 2017 Ministerial Press Conference in Abuja also said, incompletion of some projects is hampering development in the region while adding that the exact amount owed the contractors cannot be confirmed for now but it is a huge amount.
He said the ministerial conference is to provide opportunity an opportunity for the ministry to give account of their stewardship for the past two years they have served in the ministry saying that they are not presenting the achievement of the ministry but the activities.
While reading out some of the activities of the Ministry in the past two years he said, in keeping up with the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to bring fresh hope to the people of Niger Delta region and correct the ills of the past, they have been able to record a number of feats which includes; technical audit committee reports of projects awarded between 2009-2015, visitation to several projects sites to ascertain what is needed to complete on-going projects, capacity building for over 1,000 non-militant youths and women of the region in both ICT and Agriculture and strengthened partnership with both local and international partners.
"130 youths were who were earlier trained in Israel in Agriculture were empowered with the sum of N1 million each as soft loan managed by the Bank of Agriculture Ltd (BOA ad Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC)."
He added that between 2016 to 2017, 214 women and youths drawn from the Nine states of the Niger Delta region were trained in fisheries, poultry, snail production, entrepreneur, and Information technology.
Usani also said the Ministry has awarded the contracts for the establishment of oil palm processing plants in all the nine states of the Niger Delta region under the 2016 appropriation adding that contractors are on sites and have commenced work accordingly.
"The Ministry is facilitating skills acquisition Centre in all the Niger Delta states to cater for the needs different categories of people within the region and money has been approved to finish some of the Centre's project so that people can be empowered and employed."