Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Rivers State House of Assembly has passed the 2018 Appropriation Bill, christened ‘Budget of Consolidation’ into law.
The bill was passed, on Tuesday, after the lawmakers considered the report of the Appropriation Committee, which stood at the N510 billion as presented by Governor Nyesom Wike.
Presenting the report of the Appropriation Committee during plenary, on Tuesday, the member representing Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency 1, Christian Ahiakwo, on behalf of the Chairman, Ikuinyi Owaji-Ibani, stated that the Committee recommended that the budget should be passed as presented by the governor.
Ahiakwo stated that the major source of funding for the budget is the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
According to him, the Ministry of Works got the highest allocation of N9.5 billion, which is in line with the state government’s policy thrust of providing massive infrastructure in the state.
He also said that a breakdown of the budget showed that capital expenditure is over N379 billion, while recurrent expenditure amounted to N132 billion.
He further told the Committee of the Whole that the Appropriation Committee corrected all typographical errors as observed by the Committees on Finance, Public Accounts, Environment and Power. “It is a balanced budget as it addresses all sectors of the economy,” he stated.
Addressing lawmakers after the House was converted into a Committee of the whole, the Chairman, Owaji-Ibani, who is also the Speaker of the House, stated that all standing committees agreed that the estimate for the 2018 budget should be approved as proposed.
Ibani said the recommendation of the committee showed that the budget was a balanced one, as it addressed all sectors of the economy.
He added that the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) being the major source of funding the 2018 budget meant that the era of going to look for money is over.
When the House was reverted to plenary, all lawmakers present at the sitting unanimously voted in favour of the passage of the Appropriation Bill.
Earlier, the House had given approval to a request from Governor Wike to sack six officials of the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC), for alleged partisanship.
They were: Dr. Chimaroke Mba, Engr. Kombo Johnson, Mr. Ugbana Martins, Dr. Robinson Olulu, Dr. Juliet Berewari and Chief Kingsley Obudibo.
Speaker, Owaji-Ibani, while ruling on the issue at the end of debate, stated that it was very clear that for an electoral body to conduct an election, it must be above board, noting that it was unfortunate that security reports would indicate that members of the commission were partisan.