Governor Udom Emmanuel has opened up on why Akwa Ibom State missed out in the N43.4bn World Bank Assisted States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme-for-Results fund recently shared to 24 states of the federation by the Federal Government.
Governor Emmanuel who spoke during the inauguration of the State Post COVID-19 Economic Reconstruction Committee in the Banquet Hall of Government House in Uyo, maintained that the state missed out of the grant because of the late passage of the 2019 budget which he explained was the condition required for the payment by the World Bank Assisted States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme-for-Results.
Governor Emmanuel recalled that the immediate past State House of Assembly had been constrained in its duties due to the political fracas of the time where three former PDP lawmakers who defected to another political party wanted to change the leadership of the Assembly
As a result, there was a delay in the passage of the 2019 budget whereas, the SFTAS required that only states which passed the previous years’ budget early enough would benefit from the grant.
The State Chief Executive frowned at hasty conclusions made by some persons and called for indepth investigations and findings on government activities from concerned members of the public rather than mislead the people with erroneous information.
The Akwa Ibom Post Covid-19 Economic Re-Construction Committee is chaired by Mr Akpan Hogan Ekpo, a Professor of Economics and former Vice Chancellor, University of Uyo while Prof Emmanuel Onwuoduokit is the Secretary.
Governor Emmanuel while inaugurating the Post Covid-19 Economic Committee said the Covid-19 has affected the global economy such that there is need to chat new ways to boost the economy of the state without reliance on oil.
Emmanuel who listed a 9-point terms of reference for the Committee disclosed that the committee is at liberty to co-opt any expert from across the globe to assist in meeting the target.
He charged the committee to make recommendations for a strong social re-orientation programme for the citizens of the state across board, the need to unlearn old mindsets, adopt new ones and see the value of life beyond what others see.
Governor Emmanuel urged the Committee should design a workable formula towards restoring basic livelihood even if only at subsistence level, advising members to, “develop conflict sensitive policies that will lead to identifying low hanging fruits, stability and prosperity for all.”
He further charged members of the Committee who are drawn from Corporate, Government, Medium Scale Enterprises and the Academic to among others things, “guide the state government in the formulation of policy framework necessary to create a viable economy Post Covid-19.”
Governor Emmanuel also tasked the Committee to identify and explore ways and means of sourcing funds and attracting investment partners with comfortable terms, locally, nationally and internationally in the realisation of every identifiable revenue generating projects.
He said this should also involve the redesigning of policies targeting and attracting technical assistance including bilateral, multilateral and Foreign Direct Investment.
According to Mr.Emmanuel, the Committee will ” state the frame or gestation of each of the income generation project and establish the interconnectedness apart from providing input materials from one to another in the value chains of each of projects.
The governor said the Ekpo-led reconstruction committee would also develop a priority list of economic Re-Construction projects, then establish the sequence of prerequisites best order of implementation, segmented in series and parallel, indicate the duration of each segment.
The committee which has one month to submit its report to the Governor would also state measurable sources indicators of sustainable socioeconomic growth and development of Akwa Ibom state with little or no revenue from oil.
Most members including the chairman, participated in the inauguration from their respective locations around the country, through teleconferencing due to the current lockdown in the country.