A Civil Society Organisation that focuses on fiscal and ecological justice in the Niger Delta, Policy Alert, has identified some controversial appropriations made in the Akwa Ibom State 2023 Supplementary Budget.
The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly had in September passed a Supplementary Budget of N150 billion, in addition to the N700 billion earlier approved, bringing the total revised budget to N850 billion for the 2023 fiscal year.
A breakdown of the Supplementary Budget shows that N50.3 billion was appropriated for recurrent expenditure while N99.69 billion was for capital expenditure.
But Policy Alert in a statement signed by its Programme Officer, Fiscal Reforms and Anti-Corruption, Faith Paulinus, on Tuesday, noted that a bulk of the capital expenditure in the supplementary budget was allocated to projects already inaugurated by the past administration.
The group enumerated such projects that already received appropriation to include: “A budget of N1bn for the Dualisation of 19.8km Ikot Oku Ikono Junction-Etinan Road with flyover at Ikot Oku Ikono; N500m for the Construction Etinan-Ndon Eyo road; N1.2bn for Eket-Etinan road; NIbn for Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road; and N6.5bn for Construction of International Terminal Building at Victor Attah International Airport”.
Policy Alert insisted that the provision of a supplementary budget for the projects, after they had been inaugurated by the previous administration, raises a red flag and demands answers.
The statement added, “It is also disturbing that the Government of Akwa Ibom State prioritised provision of furnitures for new State House Members and purchase of utility vehicles in the supplementary budget, whereas the allocation for these items in the original budget were already sufficient and far above comparable rates.
“In the supplementary budget, the purchase of 90 Jeeps for Office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) had N2.8bn supplementary budget totaling N5.55bn in the revised budget while the purchase of 90 Pick Up Trucks for the office of the SSG had a supplementary budget of N1.2bn totaling N2.6bn in the revised budget for the year.”
The statement added that the State Assembly had a supplementary budget of N200 million for Assembly Complex Landscaping, N750 million for purchase of file cabinets, and N200 million for office furniture. It wondered why the items needed supplementation having been appropriated in recent times.
Noting that there was nothing wrong in having a supplementary budget, the statement said the “amount and the target areas in this particular supplementary budget was worrisome”.
While noting that the total revenue of the state stood at N388.5 billion as of the third quarter of 2023, Policy Alert wondered how the government will be able to raise the N850 billion revenue it has projected in its revised budget, saying, “The N150bn supplementary budget will, therefore, adversely affect the budget credibility of the state.”