The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has directed the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Linus Nkan to make public, the debt Profile of the State so as to assist in the discharge of her expected duties.
The Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appreciation, Dr Usoro Akpanusoh stated this during his opening remarks at the Pre-Budget Briefing/Public Hearing on “A Bill for a Law to appropriate monies to fund the 2018 Budget”.
Dr Usoro Akpanusoh noted that budget briefing was an acceptable practice and a platform where stakeholders were invited to make inputs, adding that it remained an excellent opportunity for the public to participate in budgeting, which he said gives room for transparency in government expenditure.
While calling on stakeholders to sit tight and make their representations, the Chairman stressed that the House Committee on Finance and Appreciation and the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly by extension, would judiciously discharge their oversight functions of evaluating the 2018 budget.
In his welcome address, the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke described the Appropriation Law as a compass for the actualization of government programmes.
Barr Luke who said the AKHA was always ready to seek the masses’ opinions in the process of appropriation, recalled that the ritual was begun in 2012 during his tenure as the Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appreciation, adding that such was very important in democratic dispensation.
Onofiok Luke posited that the 6th Assembly which is the People’s Assembly has chosen participatory budgeting to make the process of governance very transparent.
Calling on all stakeholders, NGOs and civil societies available at the event to make their inputs, Mr. Luke made known that such would assist the House make informed decisions towards the process.
The Speaker used the occasion to commend the Governor for prudently managing the state’s funds to meet the economic and developmental needs of Akwa Ibom people.
In his keynote address, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Budgeting and Budget Planning, Pastor Nicolas Ekarika pointed out that such a public function had come to stay in Akwa Ibom and urged all groups of persons to make their contributions as this was the only way their knowledge can be captured in the process of democratic governance.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Linus Nkan and the Commissioner for Economic Development, Elder Idorenyin Udoh made their remarks, explicitly dissecting the content of the budget.
However, the Commissioner for Labour and ManPower Planning, Barr Ibanga Akpabio as well as the Honourable Special Adviser, Bureau of Political/Legislative Affairs and Water Resources, Rt Hon. Barr Ekong Sampson, together with many other stakeholders were also there to make useful imputes at the event.
Meanwhile, issues of implementation reports were also raised as a vital point that can stimulate positive citizen’s engagement in budgeting.