By Tordue Salem, Abuja

The National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer of the AUD-NEPAD/APRM, Princess Gloria Akobundu on Wednesday sought the backing of the National Assembly tackle poverty in the country.

Princess Akobundu made the charge during the 2021 budget defence held at the instance of the joint Senate and House of Representatives’ Committees of Integration and Cooperation in Africa, co-chaired by Senator Chimaroke Nnamani and Rep. Mohammed Bago.

In her presentation, Princess Akobundu explained that the team was in the National Assembly to discuss the budget and how to work together to move our dear county forward.

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“My plea to this respected House, you gave me the job of overseeing us and seeing us perform with the little or nothing we had in the past. But with your commitment to ensuring that NEPAD succeeds and will move this country forward, we want to plead that you look into our budget and assist us because it’s very lean.

“Like the oversight of the Hon. Members saw it and they were surprised that we could use AC. So looking at what we are supposed to do, which is poverty eradication and also looking at the challenge of this present generation where we have a lot of teeming youths especially at the rural area lamenting on a lot of problems and challenges posed by COVID-19 which I believe NEPAD and do a lot to encourage the people especially the women at the rural communities who were known for poverty eradication.

“Remember before, there something like Keke-Napep to alleviate poverty, so some of these poverty alleviation programmes should be domiciled in NEPAD so that we can be able to execute them and cow back to give you a proper update of what we have done.

“Secondly, we have a copy of our bill to look at it to give us a strong balance to enable us to carry out our functions because if we are not properly structured based on the ongoing reform, we would not be able to interact with the international community and development partners to enable us to mobilize resources to support whatever we are getting from the Federal Government to do our job.

“So we need a proper policy and passage of our bill to enable us to come out strong to execute or mandate,” Princess Akobundu stressed.

She also solicited for enhanced annual budgetary allocation to effectively discharge the mandate of the Agency, stressing that the current budget is very lean that we cannot function with that. So we plead with you to look into that and support us to do our job better,”

In his remarks, chairman, House Committee on Integration and Cooperation in Africa observed that the Committee had during the recent oversight function to NEPAD seen the performance.

“We have gone on oversight and during the oversight, we have seen their performance. I think we have briefed you accordingly, and I think based on the prevailing situation it will also be very wise for them to make their inputs for 2021,” he urged.

Rep. Bago who noted that the joint committees had reviewed the budget before the arrival of the team, explained that everybody has the draft copy of the budget which we are also working on.

“But if there are things you think that the Committee can do to help you or augment one or two things, let us know. Because for your appropriation, people are still here too to observe the proceedings.”

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