Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clement Agba, has assured the country will record a higher implementation of the national budget in 2020 than it did in previous years.
His optimism stemmed from the early passage of the budget by the National Assembly and its signing into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in record time, stressing that the budget for next year will attain a higher percentage of implementation than the 2019.
Agba spoke to journalists shortly after he was honoured as Minister of the Federal Republic by the Afemai Patriotic Development Association (APDA) at Aganebode, headquarters of Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State.
“With 57 percent 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 attain higher implementation.
“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 percent implementation after so much delay for about six months, it is hopeful that since that of 2020 was passed and signed in record 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 which will benefit Nigerians”, the Minister said.
Commenting on his reception by the Afemai Patriot Association, 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 cannot wish away in a hurry the contributions of the Momohs, the Agbazika Innihs, the Mike Akhigbes, the Pa Imoudus, the Obaros and nunerous other to national development, pointing out 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.
Thanking President Buhari for appointing him into his next level cabinet of the All Progressives Party (APC) led-administration, the first by an Afenmai person since 1999, Agba disclosed 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 for a Nigeria that “works for all of us especially the unprivileged people”.
Earlier, Interim President of APDA, Mr. Kennedy Izuagbe, had called on the Minister to collaborate with the Edo State government to harness the abundant mineral resources in Afenmai land to develop the area.
Izuagbe thanked President Buhari 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 marginalized.
He said with adequate synergy with the state government, much development can 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 this your appointment will kindle and trigger all that is required to address these yawning developmental gaps in our affairs as a people”, Izuagbe said.