The Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr Onofiok Luke has lauded the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel for exceeding expectations in the implementation of the state budget since coming on board 2015.
He said having monitored the budget programme for over three years and considered the pros and cons in his capacity as speaker, he believes since 2015, the state’s commonwealth has been safe, and has been seen and felt in the massive growth and development of critical sectors of the economy.
The speaker, while reacting to the 2019 budget announcement by the governor, said: “Our state has become a safe haven for citizens, visitors, tourists, and investors. For a typical budget to fully derive or meet the goals and expectations of a fiscal year, it must be driven by integrity, accountability, fiscal responsibility, vision and pragmatism.
“That is so because it is one thing to have a budget but an entirely different thing to have it implemented to the letter within the context of available resources and set aims.
“I must state here categorically clear that the administration of our performing Governor has met the above stated criteria in budgeting,” he said.
Luke noted that the governor came to power at a time of great need by the people of the state.
He pointed out that the state administration leveraged the therapy of professionalism and sound financial management to keep the state above troubled waters at a time of nationwide economic downturn.
“With the support of the 6th assembly, this administration did not only ensure prompt payment of workers’ salaries, gratuities and pensions as at when due, but embarked on, and sustained its massive infrastructural development and industrialisation agenda.”
“The government ensured steady growth of the agriculture sector, added quality to its free education policy, developed human capacity through skills impartation, as well as created employment through industrialization, and boosted small and medium scale enterprises through soft loans.”
He said the timely submission of the 2019 budget was therefore an indication of the current administration’s readiness to launch a virile transition to yet another four years of prosperity and security for our people.
“We have no doubt that it will be another four years of strengthening the institutions which drive democracy in our state, rather than that which strengthen individuals to tear down our institutions.
The speaker said the 2019 budget was prepared with legislative autonomy in mind, and therefore and appealed that the autonomy be followed up by the governor with due implementation in line with the constitutional provisions as captured in Section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration No.4) Act 2018.
He expressed optimism that the implementation of the autonomy will revitalise the fabrics of good governance in the state, and strengthen the independence of the state legislature.
“Rather than put the legislature at loggerheads with the executive as some have reasoned, the implementation of fiscal autonomy for the state legislature will oil the wheels of governance through the existing principle of cooperation of powers which I have championed in the last three years,” the speaker said.