Akwa Ibom Assembly passes 2019 budget, Youth Devt. Fund Bill, ratifies state audited account

The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has passed the 2019 appropriation bill christened the budget of industrialization and poverty alleviation, into law.

The 2019 budget for Akwa Ibom state has a total outlay of N672,984,760,760 made up of N447,902,796,440 for capital expenditure, N97,395,624,590 for recurrent expenditure and N127,686,339,730 for consolidated revenue fund charges.

The House on Wednesday also passed into law the Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund Bill.

In his remarks after the passing into law of the budget, Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke said the state’s 2019 budget was an economic transition proposal which will support the completion agenda of the Governor Udom Emmanuel administration.

He said: “While this is the last budget that we have had the privilege to legislate upon as the 6th assembly, it stands as the pioneer economic blueprint for the proposed Completion Agenda of the next 4 years.

“As a legislature, we have reviewed the key components of the appropriation law, weighing them against the policy objectives which leverage the short and long term development ambitions of government.

He noted that “to meet salient socio-economic agenda of government, which includes infrastructural development, job creation, and revenue generation, the total budget size was increased by a little over 2billion Naira to meet the expectations of stakeholders who considered the parameters for the 2019 proposals during the public hearing on the budget.”

According to him, the inputs by the people during the public hearing inspired need-based augmentations especially in the Social Sector.

“Our overall objective was to see to it that priority was given to areas of immediate importance to the people while we pursue the larger goal of full-scale industrialisation.

“For instance, to further strengthen secondary education in the state, augmentation to the tune of 61.976 million Naira was made to the State Secondary Education Board. We made similar augmentation to the Akwa Ibom Universal Basic Education Board where specific provisions were made for the upgrade of library facilities with reading materials including newspapers, magazines and journals for our children. To strengthen local government administration, we augmented the initial 150 million Naira provision for Local Government Service Commission by 447million Naira. Under that provision, we included an extra subhead providing for the establishment and setting up of computer units and laboratories at the Local Government Service Commission and in all the 31 Local Government Areas in the state.”

Also on Wednesday, the House ratified the Auditor General Report on the state Audited Account for 2017.

In line with the provisions of Section 125 (5) (6) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, the state auditor general had submitted to the house the statement of account for the 2017 fiscal year. The House proceeded to ratify the report through the Public Accounts Committee.

The Speaker noted in his remarks that having thoroughly considered the expenditures of government as captured in the report, the house has put a legislative seal on the state audited account for 2017.

He noted that by the approval, the assembly has “expressed the satisfaction of our various constituents with the fiscal health of this administration.

He said that the House will be looking forward to auditing the state account for 2018 before the expiration of the assembly in June, 2019.

Also, in line with the assembly’s commitment to youth development, it passed into law the Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund Bill during Wednesday’s plenary.

The bill which was proposed by youth groups including the Youth Alive Foundation, and has Hon. Emmanuel Ekpenyong as lead-sponsor, is seeking the implementation of a sustainable youth policy framework in the state. It “proposes the establishment of the Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund which ultimate aim is to create jobs and evolve greater opportunities for our teeming youths”, the Speaker said.

He commended the Youth Alive Foundation and other youth organizations for proposing the bill while urging Akwa Ibom people to take similar advantage of the legislature to propose laws that can positively affect the generality of Akwa Ibom people.

The House, before the end of plenary, congratulated the governor on his second term election and thanked Akwa Ibom people for the peaceful balloting experience in the just concluded general election.

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