Budget defence stirs anxiety among heads of MDAs in Akwa Ibom
As the House of Assembly prepares considering the 2020 budget estimates presented by Governor Udom Emmanuel, it has been learnt that fears may have gripped heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Akwa Ibom State as regard the defence of the votes of their respective establishments.
The anxiety, it was further gathered may not be unconnected with the reports making the rounds that heads and members of the MDAs usually have it tough with the lawmakers by way of grilling and principle before having their votes approved.
A source in one of the agencies, who craved anonymity, claimed that it had become a ‘norm’ to ‘disagree’ whenever they are defending their budgetary allocations.
He claimed that the process of budget implementation review, initiated by the sixth assembly, had been allegedly abused.
His words: “The budget implementation review was designed to give members of the MDAs the opportunity to work with the Finance and Appropriation Committee of the State House of Assembly to check the extent to which the year’s budget had been implemented, funds approved and released to ministries, departments and agencies and how well they were utilised.
“Unfortunately, the legislature, especially the committee in charge, has abused the entire process.”
Besides, a member of the state executive council who would not also want to be identified confirmed the development, adding that the scenario was “fast affecting the synergy and the close working relationship which should have existed between the executive and the legislature.”
A ranking member of the legislative chamber, denied knowledge of the claim.
When contacted, the Chairman Finance and Appropriation Committee of the House, Uduak Ududo, said his panel was yet to begin work on the budget estimate.
He fumed: “Let them write whatever they want to write. I am not afraid of anything, even if they want to announce it on radio. I don’t get bothered about such things.”