By Christopher Okon, Senior Correspondent, Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr. Akan Okon, has set a new budget process in motion as he inaugurated the 2020-2022 Capital Estimates and the 2020-2022 Medium Term Framework (MTEF) bilateral discussions committee.
Performing the inauguration at the conference room of the Ministry of Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr. Akan Okon said the global trend in Budgeting is based on the needs of the citizens.
Mr. Okon made reference to what is obtainable in the corporate world, where companies do not just through a new product to the market, but engage their research and development departments to find out what the needs of their targeted customers are, before embarking on such production and stressed the need for stakeholders and the beneficiaries of the budget outcome to be carried along every step of the process.
The Economic Development boss thanked His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel for his commitment to the transparency and accountability in government business in Akwa Ibom State. He said by approving the process, the Governor has acknowledge that the people who are involved in payment of taxes should also be involved in what the money is being used for.
The Honourable Commissioner reassured that the Akwa Ibom State 2020 budget will be need-based and have the Citizens’ Budget as an important part of the process, expounding further, he said the citizens’ budget involves the presentation of the budgetary information in a less technical language, such that the average citizen can access and be able to understood.
Among several advantages of adopting the new internationally acceptable practice, the State stands to gain about 3 millions dollars made available for any state government that adheres to the Citizens’ Budget procedure and gets it published. Akan Okon said, adding that such money would go a long way to aid interventions in some aspects of the state’s economy.
The Commissioner therefore urged all MDAs and stakeholders in the capital budget to take the process very seriously and to follow the timeline set by the capital estimates and the 2020-2222 Medium Term Framework (MTEF) bilateral discussions committee, giving the December 2019 as latest targeted time for the 2020 Budget approved by the State House of Assembly, “ We do what we have to do when we have to do them” , Akan Okon concluded.
The committee had the Commissioner Economic Development and ibom Deep Seaport, Mr. Akan okon as Chairman and Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Linus Nkan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Woman Affairs, Dr. (Mrs) Glory Edet, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong and the Head Budget Office, Mr. Out Asuquo as members.
Others members were: the state Director of Planning, Mrs. Enobong Okpongkpong, State Director of Statistics. Mr. Peter Akpan, Head of Department of International Cooperation in the Ministry of Economic Development, Dr. (Mrs.) Uduak Ekong, Head of Programme Monitoring, Mr. Ottobong Sambo and Mrs. Idongesit Asuquo as Committee Secretary.
The Committee immediate swung into action. Engaging the office of the Auditor General of the State, Ministry of Science and Tech, Akwa ibom State Fire Service, Office of the Deputy Governor and others in bilateral discussion on the 2020 capital budget.