THEWILL Publisher Takes A Swipe At Okowa, Delta Assembly Over Blank Budget

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Austyn Ogannah, the publisher of THEWILL news and newly elected President, The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN), has taken a swipe at Delta state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa for allegedly running the affairs of the state without a budget.

Former Senior Presidential Aide and Liaison Officer to the Senate and immediate past National Vice Chairman South South of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Cairo Ojougboh had petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari alleging that Mr. Okowa was running a blank budget and appealed that relevant anti-graft agencies be sent to investigate governor Okowa’s blank budget.

ALSO READ: Okowa In Trouble Over 2017 Budget

Debunking the allegation, governor Okowa who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, (CPS), Mr. Charles Aniagwu describing Mr. Ojougboh’s allegation as tissue of lies.

Mr. Ogannah who was reacting to the governor’s statement mailed to him and over 200 Journalists challenged the governor to owned up.

“CPS, please tell this to the birds….Own up for your poor judgement and apologise. It is a shame that the Delta State House of Assembly has been reduced to rubbles. The House of Assembly under Igbuya and the current speaker is hopeless and very irresponsible. We can authoritatively tell you from our own checks that Governor Okowa did not send a detailed 2017 budget proposal to the Assembly for approval.

“What was sent to the Clerk for onward passage to Igbuya who was then Speaker, was a 3-page document that contained summaries of projected income and expenditure. This was what the useless Assembly approved without asking for a detailed breakdown. This is what Cairo has described as ‘BLANK BUDGET’. The Assembly should have rejected the document but they did not. SILLY lawbreakers!” Ogannah said.

As at the time of filing in the report, governor Okowa has not been able to make public the signed 2017 budget passed by the state legislators who respondents have described as a rubber stamp.

BELOW WE REPRODUCED THE GOVERNOR’S REACTION BY THE CPS WHICH OGANNAH REACTED TO

OJOUGBOH’S LIES WON’T DISTRACT OKOWA—ANIAGWU

We are very much aware that as the 2019 Polls draw near, the likes of Cairo Ojougboh who obviously are intimidated by the modest achievement of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa even in the midst of national recession would resort to outright blackmail.

Governor Okowa has made it clear that he and his team shall remain focused and committed to the delivery of programmes of Government as spelt out in the SMART agenda.

But for the records lets make it clear that the Delta State House of Assembly, in February 2017 passed the 2017 Appropriation bill of N294, 457, 40, 477 billion.

The break down shows recurrent to be N158, 030,660,828 Billion while capital is N136, 443,379,649 billion.

The passed budget showed an increase of over N23 billion from the initial amount of N270, 910,982,233 presented by the Governor to the assembly in November 2016.

The Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Hon. Erhitiake Ibori, who presented the report of the budget before it was passed had this to say  “the committee received and collated inputs, observations and recommendations from the various sub-committees and considered them one after the other, which were used in arriving at certain decisions as proposed estimates were reduced to certain areas to effect increase in other critical areas of specific needs”.
According to her, “the reasons for the increase in the budget size stems from envisaged increase in accruable income from the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), owing to the global oil prices increase.

Hon. Erhitiake also attributed the increase to the Senate approval of USD 44.5 per barrel at N305 exchange rate which is at variance with the state USD 42.5 per barrel at N297 exchange rate in Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) document”.

The Governor signed the passed budget into law on Tuesday March 14, 2017 at a brief but impressive ceremony at the Exco chambers of the Government house, ASABA.

Governor Okowa has strictly implemented the budget in accordance with the estimates earmarked by the lawmakers.

SIGNED:

ANIAGWU CHARLES

CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY

TO GOVERNOR OKOWA

 

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