By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Akwa Ibom government has countered media reports alleging that the state incurred an outrageous budgetary expenditure in 2019 fiscal year.
Recall reports published in a state-based tabloid and some online platforms indicted Governor Udom Emmanuel and other top government officials in the state of engaging in an act of corruption running into over N10 billion as extra budgetary expenditure in 2019 budgets.
Breakdown of the extra budgeted expenditure, the media reports showed that, the amount was spent on aircraft maintenance of a private Jet used by Governor Emmanuel, purchase of 15 nos Prado Jeep for government officials, special projects and Governor’s hospitality among other subheads in the budgets.
But Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Ini Ememobong in reacting to the media reports on behalf of the state government on Wednesday, blamed the publications on error made when the budget were coded in the use of International Public Accounting Standards (IPSAS) adopted by the state government.
Ememobong said that as soon as the error was spotted, government had to quickly withdrawn the annual financial report from circulation while other steps were also taken to correct the error.
Ememobong who was addressing the press conference alongside his counterparts in the ministry of finance, Linus Nkan and that of Economic Development, Akan Okon explained that a memo was issued by the state to correct the error when it was noticed.
“We had withdrawn the erroneous copy of a section of the budget, a new copy is now in use. What was spent was in line with the approved 2019 budget,” he said.
“As a government, we take financial reporting very seriously and have constantly complied with the International Public Sector Accounting Standard (IPSAS) requirements though generally acknowledged as cumbersome due to it uncommon coding system,” Mr. Ememobong added.
The Commissioner who apologised to citizens of the state on behalf of the government for the initial error, noted that as humans, there was bound to be mistakes and errors in human activities.
In his remarks, Akan Okon, Commmissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport maintained that “there was no extra budgetary expenditure adding that “all the expenditure was in line with the approved budget.”
Noting that the annual account of the state is always derived from the state’s budget, he emphasized that the budget was prepared in IPSAS which he said had been widely acclaimed as the best.
He said the new memo issued by the state government had invalidated the erroneous information as contained the state’s annual account.
In his remarks, Linus Nkan lauded the involvement of the citizens in the budget tracking as seen in the interest by the media adding that the state government has always sought the input of youths, traditional rulers, professional bodies in the preparation of its budget.
He gave assurance that with Governor Udom Emmanuel, an acclaimed finance expert, the resources of the state would continue to be properly managed.