The 2016 Bilateral Discussions Coordination Committee has been inaugurated with a call on members to apply their best endeavors to produce a budget estimate which will help actualize the five –point’s agendaof the Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration.
The Commissioner for Economic Development and Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Emmanuel Onwioduokit made the call Monday during the official inauguration of the Committee held at the Conference room of the Ministry of Economic Development.
Dr. Onwioduokit, who acknowledged the importance of the 2016 Capital Estimates to the growth of the State, stressed the need for the Committee to focus not only on expenditure but also on revenue generation plans of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as programmes that will be essential for the smooth takeoff of the industrialization programme of the present administration. He further underscored the need for members to be strategic and aim at projects and programmes that would better the lots of the over six million people in the State, who, according to him depend on the budget, urging the Committee to do everything to ensure they do not fail the people of Akwa Ibom or God.
Dr. Onwioduokit decried the attitude of passing bloated budgets by MDAs and admonished them to be more realistic in their budget projections in 2016 and ensure synergy with other MDAs to avoid duplication of efforts and wastage of resources. The Commissioner pointed out that it would not make any sense to pass budgets which may not be achievable at the end of the year due to lack of revenue.
In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Economic Development and member of the Committee, Elder Eyaekop Umanah restated the commitment of the Ministry to continue to be the guiding institution for the growth and development of Akwa Ibom State. Elder Umanah noted that the 2016 Bilateral Discussions would go a long way to determine the pace of fulfillment of the industrialization dream of the present administration and enjoined participants to take the exercise serious, while promising that the Committee will endeavor to be fair to MDAs depending on the revenue of the State government.
Members of the Committee are the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Dr. Glory Emmanuel Edet, Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akan Okon, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Eme-ette Imuk, the Permanent Secretary, Budget Office, Pastor Nicholas Ekarika and Mrs. Patricia Ukoette who represented the State Accountant General. Other members of the Committee are the Director of the Statistics in the Ministry of Economic Development, Mr. Emmanuel Essien, the Director of Planning, Mr. Nsudoh Nsudoh, and Rev Eyo Abia who serves as the Secretary.
Also present at the event were the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Cecilia Inyang, the Director of Administration in the Ministry of Economic Development, Mrs. Atim Enyinihi, the Director of Accounts, Elder Udofot Ikpeti, the Head of International Cooperation, Mr. Idongesit Ekpo, and Head of Programme Monitoring, Mr. Otobong Sambo. Meanwhile, more than five MDAs have so far made their budget presentations.