April 13, 2024

A’Ibom govt obtains N1.2bn loans to buy jeeps – Policy Alert insists

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A’Ibom govt obtains N1.2bn loans to buy jeeps – Policy Alert insists

Ini Billie, Uyo

Policy Alert, a Civil Society Organisation working on fiscal and ecological justice in the Niger Delta has insisted that the Akwa Ibom State Government obtained N1.2 billion loan to purchase 90 Jeeps and 90 pickup trucks.

The CSO faulted Governor Umo Eno’s recent claim that the N1.2 billion loan was frivolous on the premise that his administration neither obtained a loan of N1.2bn nor budgeted for 90 Jeeps and 90 pickup trucks.

However, Policy Alert maintained in a press release on Tuesday in Uyo that the details of the loan were contained in the 2023 supplementary budget and cited the pages where the items were listed.

According to its Programme Officer, Fiscal Reforms and Anti-Corruption, Faith Paulinus, Policy Alert said the information it provided to the public was true and based on government documents.

“We wish to draw the attention of the public to the fact that they can find the information on the loan received by the State Government during the third quarter of 2023 in  Page 11 of the 2023 Third Quarter Budget Performance Report published by the Akwa Ibom State Budget Office on the website at https://www.aksbudgetoffice.ak.gov.ng/budget.html.

“The 90 Jeeps and 90 pickup trucks budgeted for the office of the SSG can also be found on page 197 of the Akwa Ibom State 2023 Supplementary Budget which is downloadable from the same website. We also have incontrovertible proof that the projects we flagged in the 2023 supplementary budget had either been completed, inaugurated, or fully funded by previous administrations. We await the state government’s proof to the contrary.

“It is very disturbing and potentially undermines government credibility that state functionaries are denying information published in the state government’s official documents.

“The least we expected from the state government was an explanation as to why these projects required supplementation after they had been completed, inaugurated, or the public had been led to believe so. Such an explanation remains a supply-side duty that the government owes to citizens in a democratic setting, as opposed to the churlish defensiveness that we have witnessed in the last few days,” the release stated.

The organisation urged the government to explain to its citizens the rationale for the budgeted loans for the items, saying it should n the government should not miss such an opportunity for constructive engagement.

“Today, fiscal documents are routinely available online and we are happy that the current administration has continued to publish these documents. But it would be counter-productive to publish fiscal data on the one hand while on the other hand being intolerant of citizens’ efforts to utilise such data in asking questions and demanding accountability,” it stated.

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