The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has passed into law the 2016 appropriation bill with a total budget size of N423billion as against 426billion proposed by the state executive.
The budget was passed on Thursday, February 18, 2016, during plenary after an exhaustive consideration of the report submitted to the House by the Committee on Appropriation and Finance.
A total of N94.963billion is approved by the lawmakers for recurrent expenditure while capital expenditure stands at N243 billion.
Briefing assembly correspondents in his office at the end of plenary, Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Rt. Hon. Barr. Ime Okon explained that the House had to consider and approve an overall decrease in the 2016 estimates for capital expenditure by two billion.
The Ibiono Ibom member said: “The total budget outlay is N423billion, N3billion less than what was presented by the governor.
“What we have passed is made up of 94.963billion for recurrent expenditure, N243billion for capital expenditure and N85.036billion for consolidated revenue fund charges.
“We’ve made savings of N2billion from capital expenditure which has been augmented to recurrent expenditure to increase it by two billion as against what was presented by the governor.
“Then we have had a reduction of three billion naira from consolidated revenue fund charges. We have ended up reducing the budget as presented by the governor by three billion naira.”
The House had earlier dissolved into a committee of the whole for the consideration of the report of the Appropriation and Finance committee after which the bill was read a third time passed into law.
Motion for the adoption of the report was moved by the House Leader, Rt. Hon. Udo Kieran Akpan and seconded by the Deputy Speaker, Hon Felicia Bassey.
Lawmakers who spoke on the budget expressed happiness at the successful passage of the budget, saying they were looking forward to the betterment of the well-being of the people of the state as the House of Assembly has now empowered the executive to go ahead with the implementation of programmes outlined for the 2016 fiscal year.
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke said in his remarks: “Looking at the 2016 budget, one cannot but commend the governor and other members of the state executive council for the expertise which they brought to bear in framing the budget.
“The sectorial allocations are also worth commending. The huge priority given to the social sector in this budget is an indication of Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel’s sincere commitment to fighting on the side of the common man.
“It is heartwarming to note that government intends to spend a huge sum to meet various needs across the social and economic sectors.
“It is also commendable that agriculture, education, investments and commerce are on the priority list in this year’s budget.
The Speaker also noted that “the 2016 appropriation law is entirely in tandem with the Sustainable Development Goals of government.
“I believe this is why the budget is justifiably christened the budget of sustainable development.
“We must therefore commend His Excellency the governor for fashioning the budget to conform with sustainable development agenda.
The Speaker said further that with the passage of the budget proposal into law, it was now time for lawmakers to move to the next step of carrying out their oversight function with regards to the implementation of the proposals.
He said: “Whereas we have finished with our legislative function regarding the 2016 budget, we must move very rapidly to the next stage of oversighting.
“The aim is to ensure proper implementation as God would bless our state with the resources.
“Our various committees provide us the platforms on which we must look into the activities of various ministries, agencies, and parastatals with the aim of ensuring proper implementation of allocations.
“I therefore urge the executive to embrace these purely mutually beneficial oversight roles of ours. They should not see it as a probe process or a confrontation.
“Rather, doors should at all times be opened to us within the fiscal year to help make our oversighting efforts a success.”
He also urged Akwa Ibom people to pray for the leadership of the state at all levels.
“The industrialization plans and other lofty goals of the current administration cannot be actualized in an environment of hostilities, pernicious propaganda, blackmail, and hate.
As a people, we must at all times pray for our leaders to succeed as the Bible instructs in 1st Timothy 2:1 – 4. As we commence this fiscal year, we must collectively channel our efforts to state-building activities and continue to pray for our economic fortunes to improve.
We in the 6th assembly promise to remain committed to making laws that will improve the lives of our people and create the opportunities for our youths, women, and students to build capacities in every areas of human endeavour.”
PS to the Speaker