What N646.6BN budget will do for Akwa Ibom – Stakeholders

What N646.6BN budget will do for Akwa Ibom – Stakeholders

By INIOBONG SUNDAY, Uyo

The Akwa Ibom State budget estimate of N646.
6 billion has been signed into law by governor Udom Emmanuel.
It is for the implementation of key policies and progammes of government for the 2018 fiscal year.
The governor had late last year sent a total appropriation of N651billion to the House for deliberation and approval.
But the 26-member Assembly raised the estimate to N646.6, to, according to the Chairman House Committee on Budget and Appropriation, Dr. Usoro Akpanusoh, “cover other exigencies”.
“The Committee took into consideration the needs of the people and effected necessary adjustments to arrive at 0.7 percent differentials”, he explained.
A breakdown of the estimate shows that N431.1billion is for capital expenditure, while N94.6billion would go for recurrent spending.
Governor Emmanuel, in signing the appropriation into law, expressed the hope that funds would be available for the implementation of the budget, especially from the Federal Government allocations, oil and non oil sources.
Although not much has been put to the fore by government concerning the performance of last year’s budget, governor Emmanuel has vowed that “we are determined to implement this budget and look forward to the Federal Government to enable it to be fully implemented”.
With the Internally Generated revenue of N1billion every month, amounting to N12billion annually, coupled with the fact the Akwa Ibom still top the revenue chart from Federal allocation, analysts believe “the budget performance may surpass that of 2017’.
Last year, Akwa Ibom got the highest share of Federal allocations running into N143.6billion in 2017, and the allocation, according to figures reeled out by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the State combined States allocation is expected to be higher.
 NEITI’s Executive Director, Mr. Orji Ogbonaya Orji, Akwa Ibom would continue to maintain the lead from 2018 fiscal year, as the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), has increased allocations to States by 25 percent.
If the implementation of the budget would be made to follow due diligence and transparency, Prof. Gabriel Umoh, believes some of the “most important challenging projects like road infrastructure, jobs, industrialization and agriculture will be achieved”.
“Looking at the budget bend with capital projects allocated the lion share, while recurrent is allocated less cash, it is clear government is more determined to consolidate on industrialization roads, agriculture and other major projects”, he noted.
Umoh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at African Human Development Centre (AHDC), enjoined those charged with the implementation of the budget with more attention paid to agriculture and job creation.
Umoh, a Professor of Agricultural and Development Economics at the University of Uyo (UNIUYO), asked government to effectively fund agriculture and monitor the process“to ensure whatever we invest in the sector gets directly to genuine farmers”.
In the same vein, Police Alert (PA), a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) committed to financial transparency in governance, frowned at the inability of political administrators to imbibe transparency and due process in administrative and financial transactions.
According to the Executive Director of the organization, Mr. Tejah Bolton, “every stakeholder and the general public should carried along in the stage-by-stage implementation of the budget”.
“Government should show transparency in every financial transaction so that people will have the confidence on how well their common wealth was being managed and appropriated”, he noted.
“If all leakages are blocked and contracts awards made to follow the due process of transparency through open bidding, the budget for 2018 will succeed”, he stressed.
Also, the Network Advancement Programme for Poverty and Disaster Risks Reduction (NAPPDRR), an NGO committed to address the challenges of good governance in Niger Delta, have called on Akwa Ibom people to “monitor how their monies are being spent by the government”.
“The people voted for this government and they deserve to be carried along in the implementation of the budget because tax payers’ contribution form part of the budget size”, he stressed.   
He warned against diversion of part of the budgeted cash into financing the re-election project of governor Emmanuel for second term.
“My worry is that substantial part of the appropriation could be diverted into funding the politics of 2019 to ensure governor Udom’s second term because the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) has concluded plans to challenge the second term ambition of the governor.
“Public monies should not be diverted into financing personal ambition. If the government and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) believes it has done enough to merit re-election, it should not use public funds to buy people and their votes”, he warned.

 


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