A Nine -Member Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee on Bilateral Discussion for the 2017 Capital Estimates and 2017 -2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) has been inaugurated.
The Committee, whose terms of reference is to prepare the 2017 Capital Estimates and 2017-2019 MTEF, as well as evaluate the performance of the 2016 fiscal year, identify gaps and seek ways to close existing gaps, has the Commissioner for Economic Development, Dr. Emmanuel Ating Onwioduokit as Chairman, while the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akan Okon and Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr. Glory Edet are to serve as members.
Other members of the Committee are the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Economic Development, Mr. Emmanuel Essien Essien, Permanent Secretary, Budget Office, Pastor Nicholas Ekarika, the Director of Planning and Research, Mr. Nsudoh Nsudoh, the Director of Statistics, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong, while Rev. Eyo Abia of the Ministry of Economic Development is the Secretary.
Speaking at the Inauguration yesterday, the Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Onwioduokit said the Capital Estimates for 2017 Fiscal year would be based on the reality of the economic situation, available resources and current pricing so as to produce a budget that would not only realistic but implementable.
Dr. Onwioduokit said the Committee would endeavour to be creative, proactive and meticulous in going through all the presentations from Ministries, Departments and Agencies, (MDAs), adding that MDAs were on the other hand expected to be factual and capture the five- point’s agenda of the Governor Udom Emmanuel administration in their Estimates.
In their reactions, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akan Okon and his counterpart in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr. Glory Edet promised to ensure that the Committee produces a realistic and achievable Capital Budget in 2017 for Akwa Ibom State and urged members to take the assignment seriously. Other members of the Committee who spoke stressed the need for MDAs to focus more on diversification of the economy and seek other means of generating revenue for the State.
A case was also made by the State Accountant General, Mr. Linus Nkan, for enabling laws to be put in place to help maximize revenue generation to buttress the budget proposals. Shortly after the inauguration of the Committee, the Office of the Head of Service, the General Services Office (GSO) and the Department of Establishments presented their 2017 Capital Estimates to the Committee. The exercise is expected to last for two weeks.