AKHA Lifts Ban on Local Government Council Funds
26 Mar 2010
The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has lifted the restriction it placed on the release of funds to the 31 LGAs in the state. The House had suspended the release of local government funds except for the payment of salaries and allowances following an interim report by the house committee chairman on Public Accounts, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Obong Dan Akpan, who raised alarm that in direct contrast to the state government, most local governments were spending too much money on recurrent matters than on capital projects, with recurrent expenditure most time accounting for 80% of their expenditure and less than 20% for capital expenditure.
On March 23, 2010, during her sitting, the house through a motion moved by Obong Dan Akpan and seconded by Dr. Charles Mbong, unanimously resolved to lift the restriction on all local government funds. The Speaker, Engr. Ignatius Edet, who announced the house decision asked the Clerk of the house to write to the executive directing it to ensure the release of all allocations to local government councils. He further explained that the earlier restriction was not punitive but to restrict continuous spending until certain issues concerning the management of local government funds were sorted out.
In moving the motion, Obong Akpan asked for more time to complete the committee’s work which he described as enormous but appealed to the house to lift the suspension to enable local government councils meet other obligations apart from payment of salaries and allowances. Members who spoke in support of the motion reasoned that the lifting of the suspension will enhance the smooth operation of the local government system.
In a similar development, the house had, on 18th March 2010 set up a seven man committee to investigate tax evasion in the state by some multinational companies operating in the state. The Speaker, who announced the constitution of the committee during plenary session of the house, said the action had become necessary sequel to allegations that some companies were evading taxes and flouting the law regulating their activities much to the detriment of the state economy. He charged the committee to liaise with neighboring states where tax payment by oil companies and compliance with the relevant laws are said to be strictly enforced. The committee headed by Obong Iboro Udom, who is the chairman, house committee on Petroleum, is to report back to the house on the progress of work and for further directives, if necessary, in a month’s time.