Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has passed the 2017 appropriation bill after it was read a third time.
The appropriation bill is made up of N88.424 billion for recurrent expenditure, N80.870 billion for Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges, and N201.997 billion for capital expenditure.
The proposed capital expenditure of N193.956 billion was increased by N8.042 billion, representing 1.7 percent while N2 billion was saved from the consolidated revenue fund charges, bringing the total budget outlay to N371 billion from N365 billion.
Speaker of the House, Onofiok Luke, said after a careful study of the 2017 appropriation bill as submitted by Governor Udom Emmanuel, and after listening to the concerns of stakeholders during the public hearing on the budget, the House saw the need to increase the overall budget layout to the tune of N8 billion in capital expenditure and a reduction in the recurrent expenditure.
“We had to augment the social sector, especially in the areas of healthcare delivery, the sum for the construction and renovation of hospitals and health institutions which original provision was too minimal.
“We had to provide for massive renovation of schools, provision of water boreholes especially in rural communities, desks in schools under the inter-ministerial direct labour coordinating committee to improve the free and compulsory education efforts of government.
“These increases account for the little over N8 billion in capital expenditure increase that we have had. It is important to state that the increases were inspired by the needs assessment, which we carried out. It was also necessary following the contributions from stakeholders during the public hearing.
“Also, we had considered the need to meet certain urgent socio-economic demands in riverine and interior communities of the state,” Luke said.
He promised the Assembly’s commitment to giving the Governor Udom Emmanuel administration full cooperation required in delivering on its industrialisation agenda. The cooperation does not however mean that the House will be complacent in its oversight responsibility, he said.
Luke commended the state governor for his forthrightness and prudence in managing the state economy, saying “we are using the 2016 budget implementation as the parameter for this score.”
He called on the Federal Government to remit funds owed the state, saying, “Let me commend the running of government by the governor. His effort in increasing the state’s internally generated revenue in the last couple of months has been most effective.
“It is in this light that we again urge the Federal Government to consider the speedy remittance.”
Chairman of the finance and appropriation committee of the Assembly, Usoro Akpanusoh, had earlier presented the recommendations of the committee while presenting the committee’s report of the appropriation bill 2017 on the floor of the House.
Among others, the Assembly approved the committee’s recommendation that the executive should “ensure prompt release of funds for the execution of critical capital projects in the state.”
It also approved that ministries, departments and agencies should make quarterly reports to the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly through their oversight committees on the level of budget implementation and release of funds.”