April 13, 2024

Group urges govt not to neglect key sectors development

Group urges govt not to neglect key sectors development

Ini Billie, Uyo

The Akwa Ibom State Government has been urged not to neglect the development of key sectors of the economy like health.

Health is one of the focuses of the ARISE agenda of Governor Umo Eno’s administration, however, Policy Alert, a civil society organisation that promotes fiscal and ecological justice in the Niger Delta, has said government expenditures so far do not depict interest in that area.

Policy Alert said a review of the Akwa Ibom State third quarter budget performance report 2023 (July -September), showed that health, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sectors had zero capital releases during the period.

According to a press statement signed by its Programme Officer, Fiscal Reforms and Anti-Corruption, Faith Paulinus on Friday in Uyo, the CSO said it was disturbing that the Office of the Governor, Ministry of Finance, and the Office of the Accountant General which do not have capital development functions directly impacting citizens together accounted for N6.32bn in capital expenditure in the same period.

“It is worrisome that the State Government has not only neglected key sectors but has continued the trend of obtaining loans illegally.

“It is also disturbing that within the three-month period, the administration spent N47.71bn on recurrent items, more than 30 per cent higher than the N36.64bn it spent on capital projects, contrary to recent public commitments by the governor to cut the cost of governance and reduce recurrent expenditure.

“High cost of governance has continued to be a bane to the development of the state and needs to be urgently addressed,” he stated.

Paulinus urged the government to identify the specific capital projects in the educational sector that gulped

N751m, noting that the renovation of CKS primary school, Barracks Road, Uyo, was the only known capital project executed within that period.

He regretted that Governor Eno’s administration has continued in the pattern of the immediate past government to take a loan of N1.2bn through a direct credit substitute/discounting facility, which he described as illegal and dangerous for the fiscal health of the state.

He called on the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to take up its oversight function and hold the executive accountable for the management of the state’s finances.

“The administration of Governor Umo Eno has to immediately curb its inherited appetite for loans in anticipation of funds that are due to the state in the future. Future funds must be left for the future.

“It is even more disturbing that the authorisation to obtain these loans is never discussed on the floor of the House of Assembly in breach of the Fiscal Responsibility Law of the State,” the release stated.

t would be recalled that Governor Udom Emmanuel had recently announced that the State Government would establish a Teaching Hospital to augment the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, the establishment of a Renal Treatment Centre and the commencement of Health Insurance scheme within one month.

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