AKHA holds public hearing on 2019 budget
BY EMMANUEL AKPAN
The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly committee on Appropriations and Finance on Thursday held a pre-budget briefing/public hearing on the bill for a law to appropriate monies out of the consolidated revenue fund and capital development fund to the service of Akwa Ibom State government and for other matters connected therewith.
The public hearing took place at the old chapel of the Akwa Ibom State house of Assembly.
The speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Onofiok Luke while declaring the event open, said that the public hearing was to allow Akwa Ibom people to contribute their quota to the 2019 budget.
Onofiok Luke, who was represented by the deputy speaker, Hon. Felicia Bassey said the House of Assembly will always give opportunity for people to participate in any law that would affect the people of the State.
The AKHA speaker noted that the public hearing would allowed every Akwa Ibom people to make inputs as well as observations in the budget as presented by Governor Udom Emmanuel. The speaker however charged the people to contribute meaningfully to the public hearing even as he promised that Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly will do the needful on the budget.
In his speech, the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations and Finance, Hon. Usoro Akpanusoh said Akwa Ibom State operates an independent budget whose aim is to assist in short term planning and socio-economic management of the State and emphasized on the need for participation of the people in governance, saying that it has become a norm of the democratic governance that public hearing has to be organized on the issues that affect the generality of the people.
According to the committee Chairman, “This is predicated on one of the very important guiding principles of good governance which says that “what touches all should be approached by all”. The issue of public expenditure is the basis for political power and is a subject that generates a lot of interest among politicians, legislators, public servants, labour and other unions, the business community.”
He reminded the people that as presented by Governor Udom Emmanuel, the budget is christened “Budget of Industrialization for Poverty Alleviation’’ and that government is proposing a total budgetary outlay of N670.718b for 2019 and is aimed at substantially implementing the five-point agenda of the present administration which include Job creation , wealth creation, poverty alleviation, economic and political inclusion and infrastructural consolidation AND expansion.
“As highlighted in his address, the Executive Governor of the State, His Excellency, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel has stated that the policy thrust of the 2019 Budget is aimed at “reducing dependence on statutory allocation as the main source of revenue to the State” through the pursuit of establishing more industrial ventures, enhanced internal revenue generation and the attraction of more investments to Akwa Ibom State with the Five-point agenda of the administration still very much in focus.”
He maintained that in the 6th Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, budget briefing and public hearing on budget proposals have become a yearly ritual and usually with its numerous pay-offs for the State, adding that hearing on the 2019 budget proposal shall not be an exception as it is aimed at creating a forum where the people of the State participate in the budgetary process; where different shades of opinion from Stakeholders in the Akwa Ibom project are to be contributed, collated and considered for the overall socio-economic development of the State.
Akpanusoh added that the process will ensure good governance, transparency and accountability and ultimately, a speedy and sustained development of the State in all sectors, even as he assured the Akwa Ibom people of effective scrutiny of the budget proposals as well as monitor and supervise its implementation in the best interest of the State and its people, as part of the committee’s oversight function.
The Commissioner for Finance, Mr. LInus Nkang while explaining the policy trusts and objectives of the budget, said the 2019 budget will broadened the internal generated revenues of the State. He said next year’s budget will boast the production of local businesses in the State and that it will uplift so many things that will develop the State.
The Finance Commissioner noted that the budget will partner private partnership in the State and also ensure that security of life and property of Akwa Ibom State are protected.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Budget and Budgetary Planning, Pastor Nicolas Ekarika in his keynote address noted that the budget was prepared in the interest of Akwa Ibom people. He said the present administration will ensure the implementation of the budget to the interest of the people of Akwa Ibom State.
He appealed to the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to give the budget a speedy process by passing it into law as soon as possible in order to allow the implementation of the budget kick start as early as January next year.