By Dennis Udoma, Senior Correspondent, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Government has presented an estimated fiscal expenditure of N597.800 billion for 2020 to the State House of Assembly.
The proposed budget christened, ‘‘Budget of Industrialization for Poverty Alleviation Phase 2’’ was N75.19 billion lower than 2019 appropriation law.
The breakdown shows that, N111.225 billion is for recurrent expenditure, N369.642 billion capital expenditure and N116.933 billion as consolidated revenue fund charges, while the total projected recurrent revenue for 2020 is estimated at N381.556 billion, as against the approved N374.758 billion in 2019.
Governor Udom Emmanuel, while presenting the budget proposal to lawmakers said, the 2020 budget was designed to ensure his administration’s completion agenda.
The 2020 budget he said, was predicated on an oil benchmark of $55 per barrel at a production rate of N2.18 million barrels per day, with an estimated exchange rate of N305/US dollar in line with the national budget benchmark.
According to the Governor, “Mr. Speaker and honourable members, considering the fact that my completion agenda is predicated primarily on the rapid industrialization of this state, we have christened the 2020 budget “The budget of Industrialization for Poverty Alleviation phase ll.
“It was so named because the state had started witnessing major breakthroughs in industrialization through construction and commissioning of some industries that are currently in full operations or on going.
“The 2020 budget aims to support areas that will deliver inclusive growth and massive employment opportunities such as the construction of the Ibom Deep Seaport, completion of Airport projects, and purchase of more airplanes and competition of the 21-storey Intelligent building among others”.
Governor Emmanuel further maintained that, the 2020 budget was based on the 8-point agenda that forms the policy thrust of his completion agenda of Industrialization, Aviation development, security, infrastructure, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, Human capacity development, Agriculture, and Rural and Riverine Area development.
He stated also that, with the full implementation of the provisions, the budget would ensure for the state a society that is self-reliant, and less dependent on statutory allocation from the centre.
The governor thanked the lawmakers for living up to its responsibilities since its inauguration promising to work with the legislature and judiciary arms to deliver good governance to the people.
He prayed the State Assembly for speedy approval of the financial estimate and support its implementation.
“We promise to faithfully implement the provisions of the budget for the general good and well-being of our people”, Governor Emmanuel assured.
The Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. (Hon). Aniekan Bassey said, the legislative arm would continue to support the executive to achieve its economic blueprint for the state.
He expressed optimism that, the 2020 budget would mark another milestone in the on -going industrialisation and consolidation effort of the state government and praised the governor for raising the bar in governance.
While harping on separation of powers, the Speaker however said, there was a new concept of cooperation of powers, which encourages the spirit of collaboration of the various arms of government, and promised to cooperate with the executive arm for the benefit of Akwa Ibom people.
Meanwhile, the governor has been urged to implement people- oriented economic programmes in order to put food on the table of every household in the state.
Reacting to the budget presentation by the governor, a student activist in the University of Uyo, Mr Donald Usen scored the state government low on industrialization saying, his policy is self-serving.
He said, the governor was marginalizing other Senatorial Districts by taking industries only to Awa in his local government thereby marginalizing the people.
Usen, further queried the poverty alleviation policy of the state government describing it as a ruse. He added that, in the midst of plenty, people of the state have witnessed extreme poverty in the past four years.
Also, an Abuja-based legal practitioner, Barrister Jacob Udobang corroborated Mr Usen stating that, the implementation of 2020 proposed budget would not be different from his previous ones since his policy on industrialization only exist in his wild imagination.
Udobang explained that, his industrialization programme is pro-poverty than improving the well-being of citizenry.
According to him, ‘‘dispossessing lands belonging to communities without payment of compensation and involving as partners in the projects is synonymous with poverty’’.