2017 IGR below our expectations, AKHA tells MDAs

. Members of the House of Assembly committee on appropriation and finance during the budget defence yesterday 

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. We’re praying that it’ll be well with Civil Service in 2018 – HOS

. Ibom Hotels/Golf Resort lacks adequate patronage to meet revenue target — Tourism commissioner

 

Itoro BASSEY

The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, yesterday, expressed concern that remittances of revenue by generating Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the state government failed to meet its expectations in the 2017 financial year.

Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations and Finance, Usoro Akpanusoh, made this known while interacting with heads of MDAs during the resumed 2018 budget defence exercise yesterday.

Making a presentation during the exercise, the Head of Akwa Ibom State Civil Service, Mrs Ekereobong Akpan, told lawmakers that her office generated N5.8 million from renting of the Civil Service auditorium out of the N12 million target expected revenue for the hall in 2017.

Mrs Akpan revealed that N417 million was allocated to her office last year, but she could only draw N50.5 million.

She said the low releases to her office marred several of the services’ programmes for last year, particularly in the area of training for personnel and celebration of the Civil Service week.

While giving a review of the Department of Establishment and the General Services Office, two other offices domiciled in the office of the head of civil service, Mrs Akpan said the state government paid rent up to the tune of N377,692, 807.14 million out of the N500 million earmarked for that purpose in the General Services Office.

She said the hall in the General Services Office generated N2.1 million out the N5 million expected in the year under review, adding that the Department of Establishment “did not fare better” in 2017.

. One of the MDAs yesterday

Two hundred million naira was allocated as capital expenditure to cover 14 activities of the Department of Establishment in the 2017 budget, but the Permanent Secretary in the department said no fund was released to them.

One hundred and sixty million is proposed to cover 11 projects of the Department of Establishment in 2018.

“We’re praying that it will be well with us in 2018 because 2017 was most difficult, as civil servants were not trained.

“The only amount we could draw for training was N3.5 million and that was when a group went for Institute of Personnel Management training workshop”, said Mrs Akpan, as she expresses optimism for adequate releases in the 2018 budget for her office.

A total N617 million is budgeted to cover all civil service activities for 2018.

In his response, the Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations and Finance, Usoro Akpanusoh, stated that the internally generated revenue of the state is what is expected to be used in funding about 40 percent of the 2018 budget.

Akpanusoh urged heads of MDAs to take steps in order to make adequate remittances in 2018, even as he thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel for prompt payment of salaries last year.

Others who participated in yesterday’s exercise include Office of the State Auditor General, Office of the Local Government Auditor General and Office of the Governor, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Victor Antai, who noted that N14.5 has been allocated to his ministry in 2018, said the Ibom Le’Meridien Hotels and Golf Resort, now called Ibom Hotels and Golf Resort and managed bt the Akwa Ibom State Government, had never made any profit in the ten years of its existence.

Antai also told the baffled lawmakers that the previous hotel management did not make any return to the state government within the same period.

He said most of the revenue the hotel generates goes back to power.

He said the hotel operates at about 25 percent occupancy, at the moment, adding that the level of patronage it has had over the years was poor, a reason it could not meet revenue generation target.

Also in his presentation, the Commissioner for Lands and Town Planning, Ime Ekpo, whose ministry could not access any money in the 2017, but had an approved budget of N4,877,500,000 billion, said N4.99 billion is allocated to his ministry for 2018, representing an increase of 2.3 percent over the 2017 estimate.

Mr Ekpo said his ministry intends to use its allocation for, among other things, equipment of offices, review of the state’s master plan, with the bulk of it earmarked for payment of compensation for lands already acquired by government which stands at N3.724 billion.

The Office State Auditor General said N500 million was expected for its activities in 2017 but it managed to access N50 million at the end of the year.

The office, whose mandate it is to audit accounts of all MDAs of government that has business with collection and disbursement of funds within the state, said it generates revenue from registration of audit firms only.

The office said it could not generate any revenue in 2017 because it did no register audit firms.

Again, N500 million is budgeted for use in the Office of the State Auditor General in 2018.

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