Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, yesterday assured that the federal government would score a higher percentage of budget implementation in 2020 than it did in previous years.
He explained that because of the early passage of the budget by the National Assembly and its signing by President Muhammadu Buhari in record time, the budget for next year would attain a higher percentage of implementation more than the 2019.
Agba, who spoke to journalists on the sideline after he was honoured by the Afemai Patriotic Development Association (APDA) a socio-cultural group at Aganebode, headquarters of Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State, noted that “with 57 per cent implementation of 2019 budget which was passed just in June this year, I am optimistic that the 2020 budget that was passed and signed in record time will attainer higher implementation.”
According to him, “We have not had it so good in the last few years than now. In the past, there are delays of passage of budgets by the National Assembly which in turn reduces the level of implementation.
“For instance, if the 2019 budget could attain about 57 per cent implementation after so much delay for about six months, it is hopeful that since that of 2020 was passed and signed in records time, we should be talking about nothing less that 80 percentage implementation. And should that happen, it means that a lot of capital projects would be carried out that will benefit Nigerians.”
Speaking earlier at the reception organised in his honour as the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Agba said the Afenmai land that comprises the Akoko Edos, Etsakos and Owans, is peopled by the best brains and leaders that have over the years demonstrated selflessness, and commitment to national development.
He said the nation could not wish away in a hurry the contributions of the Momohs, the Agbazika Innihs, the Mike Akhigbes, the Pa Imoudus, the Obaros and numerous others to national development, pointing out that Afenmai people produced the first female senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Distinguished Senator Franca Afegbua, and the first Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations.
Agba, who thanked Buhari for appointing him into his next level cabinet of the All Progressives Party (APC)-led administration, first by an Afenmai person since 1999, added that working closely with the President in the past few months has given him the opportunity to have a better insight into the unseen, unnoticed and unadvertised humane disposition and passion of a Nigerian that “works for all of us especially the less privileged people.”
In his welcome address, APDA Interim President, Mr. Kennedy Izuagbe, called on the minister to collaborate with Edo State Government to harness the abundant minerals resources in Afenmai land to develop the area.
Izuagbe thanked the President for appointing one of their own as minister whom he said is the first since the Fourth Republic, noting that the people of Afenmai are blessed with abundant natural resources yet the area is highly marginalised, noting that with adequate synergy with the state government, much development could be brought to the community.
“We implore you to collaborate with the Edo State Government for optimal and strategic engagement on the huge natural resources deposited in both land and seas on Afenmai land for the immediate benefits of the Afenmai community/people.
“Afenmai land is the most blessed part of our dear Edo State but yet the least developed.
“So many of the federal, state and community roads are impassable and have made commerce and social life of our people miserable.
“Knowing your pedigree, we believe that your appointment will kindle and trigger all that is required to address these yawning developmental gaps in our affairs as a people,” he said.