Positive reactions have continued to trail the recent 2020 budget proposal presented by the Akwa Ibom governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, to the State House of Assembly.
A cross section of indigenes and residents of the state who spoke with The Pioneer, described the budget as “very promising, realistic and capable of taking the state out of its civil service structure to an industrialised entity.”
The governor had very recently presented a budgetary estimate of N597,800 billion for the 2020 fiscal year to the House of Assembly. It is christened: Budget of Industrialisation for Poverty Alleviation II.
One of the major stakeholders in the state, Archbishop Andrew Unwanta, said: “The proposed N597, 800billion budget estimate for the 2020 fiscal year of Gov Udom Emmanuel is a true indication of his passion to fully transform Akwa Ibom from a civil service state to an industrial hub of the nation with a robust and thriving economy.”
Unwanta, who is also the chairman of the Assembly Service Commission, noted that the proposed 2020 budget would facilitate the implementation of the governor’s completion agenda, earlier kick-started as five points agenda during the first four years of the present administration in the State.
“This fact has been unequivocally ascertained during the presentation at the chambers of the State Assembly with a capital expenditure proposal of N369, 642billion, recurrent expenditure, N111,225billion; and N116,933 has been estimated for consolidated revenue fund charges. “With further analysis, internally generated revenue (IGR) stands at N52.556 billion, statutory allocation, N 52.000 billion, Derivation Fund, N255.000 billion, Retained Revenue from Parastatals N2.000 billion, Value Added Tax (VAT) N 20.000 billion, totaling N381.556 billion.
“As we can all see, the proposed 2020 budget is a true evidence of a transparent, visionary and prudent leadership. I thereby urge all Akwaibomites to throw their weight behind the completion agenda of Gov Udom Emmanuel, who has so far catapulted Akwa Abasibom State to the map of the world through his industrialization drive, Ibom Air, proposed Ibom deep Seaport and other landmark achievements,” he added.
A youth leader in the state, Mr Aniefiok Iwaudofia, said the budget with all intents and purposes was a fantastic positive step towards the socio-economic development of the state.
Iwaudofia, who is the senior special assistant to the governor on Youth Matters and chairman of Akwa Ibom State Youth Caucus, observed that the proposal was tailored towards the enhancement and smooth implementation of the eight point completion agenda of the government, namely, industrialization, aviation development, rural and riverine areas development, agriculture, human capacity development, security, infrastructure, small scale enterprises.
He assured the youths that their interest has been strategically defined, outlined and captured in the budget proposal, adding, “Human capital development encapsulates the issue of robust youth empowerment, leadership development and general capacity building for sustainable living.”
Iwaudofia lauded the collaborative partnership between the state executive and legislature viz-a-viz judiciary and said,” It will fast-track prompt passage of the bill for the general well-being of the people, which the youth population is the highest.”
The governor’s aide urged youths to see agriculture as the easiest way to decongesting the street, which, he said, the governor was making passionate appreciable commitment towards bettering the lives of the youths.
A senior lecturer in the Department of Economics, University of Port Harcourt, Dr Etim Akpan, said the 2020 budget proposal as presented by the Akwa Ibom governor was futuristic, focused and target-driven.
Akpan, who was in the state at the weekend, said if passed and 80 per cent of it is implemented, Akwa Ibom “will surely change for the better through industrialization. With the planned increase in fleets of the Ibom Airline, the completion of Ibom Deep Seaport project, creation and rehabilitation of more roads and massive investment in agriculture, the state would bounce back as the food basket of Nigeria.
“I base in Port Harcourt but I’ve been following the works of the governor and they are real and relevant in contemporary society. I was happy to hear in the review of the budget that our internally generated revenue has increased, a development that was not heard of from previous administrations,” he said.
The don urged the House of Assembly to expedite action in handling the budget to give the governor the needed time to bring the proposal to concrete reality.
A woman leader from Udunguko Local Government Area, Madam Lily Effiong, said she was happy that the governor was going full-blast on industrialization.
Effiong said with the number of envisaged industries and other poverty alleviation packages, she was hopeful that her three unemployed children would have the chance to work in any of the industries and eke a living.
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