Governor Udom Emmanuel has signed the 2017 appropriation bill of N371,292,485,580 (Three hundred and seventy one million, two hundred and ninety two million, four hundred and eighty five thousand, five hundred and eighty naira) into law.
The event which took place at the State Executive Council Chamber, Government house, Uyo was witnessed by the deputy Governor Mr Moses Ekpo, Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke, members of the house of Assembly as well as members of the state executive council.
Governor Emmanuel in his remarks, acknowledged the members State House of Assembly for their great work and sacrifices for the people of the State.
According to him, "Where budget issues and deliberations have been contagorous and divisive in other places, I think the leadership of the 6th Assembly worked hard to put the business of the people above self and I salute you all".
The Governor expressed optimism that the expedite passage of 2017 appropriation bill by the House of Assembly is heart warming and highly commendable.
Mr Emmanuel siad that Akwa Ibom people expect nothing less than the show of unity in moving the state forward and called for more cooperation to provide democratic dividends and superior performance for the people.
The Governor noted that the bulk of the budget estimate is on Economic issues and stated that "We are coming back to the basics because we are swimming towards the same direction and once our economic foundation is strong, our political structures will be able to stand strong too".
He prayed for material and economic advancement, unity and growth from the assented budget.
He assured that " this budget has been tagged: The Budget of Consolidation, together in unity and in one accord, we will work to consolidate the gains of the pervious years and expand opportunity for our people in 2017."
In an interview after the ceremony, the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Barr. Onofiok Luke described budget as an estimate and also a proposal and said it only becomes full when it is backed up by finances, maintaining that the performance of a budget is tied to the availability of finance.
He explained that in a situation where there is lack of funds and no correspondent revenue inflow, expenditure becomes an impossibility.
He stated that prior to 2016 budget, they were only able to realize 32 percent of the resources of income and added that the State Government shouldn't have been expected to perform 70 or 80 percent of what they had planned to do when they only received about 32 percent of the revenue inflow.
He said that the lessons learnt in the implementation of 2016 budget has been used as a platform to consolidate on the 2017 budget.
The permanent secretary, Budget office, Pastor Nicholas Ekarika expressed satisfaction that what they presented to the House of Assembly came out clean which res resulted in the assent.
He stated that the Government prioritize whatever project it has for the benefit of the state and also noted that whatever came in, in 2016 was well utilized.