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MORE Spending: Governor Sheriff Oborevwori Earmarks N1 Billion For New Secretariat Project

Secrets Reporters

In October 2023, during a meeting of the Delta State Executive Council led by Governor Sheriff Oborevwori, a proposed budget of N714.4 billion for the 2024 fiscal year was approved. The Commissioner for Economic Planning, Mr. Sonny Ekedayen, revealed this information during a post-EXCO press briefing at the Government House in Asaba.

The budget breakdown includes N397 billion (56 percent) for Capital Expenditure and N316 billion (44 percent) for recurrent expenditure, based on an exchange rate of N750 per dollar.

Ekedayen emphasized that the budget aligns with the administration’s vision, focusing on the M.O.R.E agenda, and anticipates approval from the House of Assembly. He highlighted the inclusion of new townships, quality road infrastructure, healthcare institution expansions, and support for small businesses in 2024.

However, SecretsReporters‘ ongoing budget scrutiny uncovered irregularities in the Ministry of Housing’s budget, particularly in the Development of New Central Secretariat Complex. The proposed 2024 budget allocates N1 billion to this project, raising concerns of duplication and fund diversion, as the same project was previously executed by the preceding administration. The budget details include a Revised 2023 Budget of N150 million and the Proposed 2024 Budget of N1 billion.

In 2019, the State House of Assembly approved an upward review of the New Central Secretariat Complex construction contract by N2.2 billion, citing the urgency to consolidate government offices. Former Governor Ifeanyi Okowa justified the funding increase as necessary for completing the flagship project promptly.

The emergence of another Secretariat complex project in the 2024 budget prompts suspicions of fraudulent activities.

Efforts to obtain comments from the Ministry of Housing were unsuccessful.

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