Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Rt. Hon. Uduak Odudoh, on Tuesday, lauded the State Commissioner for Finance and Accountant General, Mr Nsikak Linus Nkan and Pastor Uwem Andrew Essien, for painstakingly clarifying issues raised during the last Public Hearing including figures allocated to Ministries and the Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Committee.
Rt. Hon Odudoh, who also represents Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo in the House of Assembly, also charged the Commissioner and Accountant General, who appeared before the Committee in defence of their respective Budget estimate, to look into the issue of flood ravaging the State Secretariat.
Supporting the Committee Chairman, his deputy, Mr Effiong Asuquo, who represents Oron/Udung Uko in the House, commended the Accountant General and urged him to further take into consideration the payment of Leave Grants and Gratuities to primary school teachers.
Also speaking, Obong Godwin Ekpo (Ibiono Ibom State Constituency), a member of the Committee, said members of the House of Assembly were concerned and interested to know the number of benefiting schools from Desks supplied by the State government to ensure even spread.
Addressing the Committee, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Nkan, informed the lawmakers that the N132Billion revenue generated was from investment sources, privatization among others, maintain that only N900m was spent by the Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Committee out of the N10Billion that was allocated.
For the year 2020, he told the Committee that N13Billion was budgeted for Inter-Ministerial while N2Billion was budgeted for his Ministry.
On his part, the Accountant General, Pastor Essien, also informed members of the Committee that the State Government has paid 90% of Leave Grant for 2019 in various Ministries, adding that the last batch will be paid before November runs out.
While informing the Committee that Akwa Ibom was rated Third across the nation in terms of Budget implementation, he noted that the Accountant General’s Office has presently reached 59% revenue performance with 29% budget performance from the N50Billion approved for 2019.
Pastor Essien added that state Government has paid Gratuities up to March 2016 as well as the backlog of pensions up to 2015.
Taking their turn to defend their 2020 estimates, the Director, Center for Alternative Conflict Resolution,
Rev. Fr. John Ebebe Esq. noted that within the last years, we have made huge efforts in terms of mediation and resolutions where they have received over 800 complaints and have settled more than 600 of those complaints. “New ones are still coming in and we have competent lawyers on the ground to help in handling these concerns.”
Others who also defended their 2020 Budget Estimates included Centre for Alternative Conflict Resolution, led by Rev Fr John Ebebe; Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC), led by Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak; Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, led by its Secretary, Mrs Nsikanabasi Orok, and Akwa Ibom State Agency for Adult and Non Formal Education.