– Margaret Umoren

The Akwa Ibom State Government has earmarked 132 major projects to be implemented across the state in 2021, Commissioner for Finance, Mr Linus Nkan has said.

Addressing stakeholders, the media, civil society organisations and a cross section of citizens on Monday 29th March, 2021 in Uyo, Mr Nkan stated that the 2021 Budget of economic recovery is poised to raising the living standards of the people.

According to him, 132 major projects include 62 road construction and rehabilitation projects undertaken in line with the Completion Agenda of the present administration.

“The priority budget that the State Government is undertaking comprises 132 projects which include ongoing and new projects with emphasis on the sustenance of economic programmes in Education, Agriculture, Information technology, Water Supply, Infrastructure, Capacity development among others,” he said.

“MDAs should note that this year, we will be highly budget compliant, each MDA is expected to keep records of the budgetary provisions allocated to them with their approved expenditure to avoid over expenditure.”

Mr Nkan noted that the Education and Agriculture sectors are given premium in the 2021 budget because Government considers education as a critical development factor while Agriculture is expected to boost the State’ economy by providing food for local consumption and export.

The Commissioner also disclosed that since Akwa Ibom State is operating a citizens’ budget, citizens can monitor its implementation with ease thereby promoting transparency and accountability.

The Chairman House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Rt. Hon. Uduak Udodoh speaking at the occasion, reaffirmed the House of Assembly’s continuous assistance and cooperation with Governor Udom Emmanuel to realise his lofty dreams for the State.

In his welcome remarks, the Head of State Budget, Akwa Ibom State, Mr Otu Asuquo said the 2021 approved budget was prepared in line with the provisions of IPSAS (International Public Sector Accounting Standards) which is predicated on sound policy thrust and implementation strategies that ensures the realisation of intended goals and objectives.

Mr Otu said the 2021 budget was packaged to highlight on the vision, policies, programmes and projects of the present Administration in the delivering to the people the dividends of democracy.

In his reaction, the State Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Sunny James urged the State Government to ensure full release of the N2.5 billion earmarked in the 2021 budget for payment of pensions and gratuities.

Comrade James called for the reduction of cost of governance by the Government so such monies could be channeled to critical sectors.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs Eme-ete Imuk appreciated the State Governor for granting the opportunity for the interaction while thanking stakeholders, royal fathers, media men, civil society organisations and other citizens for their useful contributions and for attending the event.