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CSOs demand breakdown of N3b COVID-19 expenditure in Akwa Ibom

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The Akwa Ibom chapter of the Forum of Civil Society Organisations has demanded a breakdown of the N3 billion said to be spent so far on the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

Governor Udom Emmanuel had during a recent update, dished out the figure. But the forum’s chairman, Harry Udoh, queried the information against the backdrop that “only 1,103 persons have been tested for the disease in the state.”He said an analysis of the expenditure was necessary for accountability and transparency.

According to him, “this has become expedient based on government’s admission that it had received monetary and material donations from individuals and corporate organisations.”

Udoh said the explanation would afford the citizens the opportunity to ascertain if the sum was part of the gifts. The activist observed that since the 2020 budget did not capture the spending, the origin of the funds needed to be known.

His words: “You know from the onset, we have been asking for transparency on COVID-19 implementation within the state. First of all, the government has come out to mention that sum, which is commendable because that has been one of our advocacies. But the point is that, we need to know exactly where the N3 billion is channelled.

“Giving us figures like that doesn’t help the case. While we commend him (Emmanuel) for telling us how much that has been spent, we need to have a breakdown of the expenditure so as to provide third party accountability.” 

In another development, leaders of trade unions have applauded the governor for his worker-friendly disposition since assumption of office in 2015.

They gave the commendation yesterday during the official signing of an agreement between the government and organised labour to formalise the 80 per cent increase in salaries of health workers in Uyo.

State chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Sunny James, as well as his Trade Union Congress (TUC), Joint Public Service Negotiating Council and Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) counterparts, Comrades Dominic Abang, Tina Essien, and AniebietAbasi Obot, promised better service delivery.

The understanding eventually ended the two-week old friction between JOHESU and the state government. In his remarks, Chief of Staff to the Governor and supervising Commissioner for Works, Akparawa Ephraim Inyangeyen, reiterated the current administration’s continued commitment to welfare of workers. 


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