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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Abia State government denies N900 million feeding, welfare expenditure by governor

Commissioner for Budget and Planning Clarifies Misrepresentation, Citing Inaccuracies in Media Reports

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The Abia State Government has refuted claims that Governor Alex Otti spent over N900 million on feeding and welfare between July and September 2023. Media reports allege that the governor’s office incurred expenses of N927 million within the three-month period for refreshments, honorariums, allowances, and welfare packages.

In a press statement on Monday, the state commissioner for budget and planning, Mr. Kingsley Anosike, dismissed the reports as “a reflection of the mindset of the opposition to create mischief.” Anosike clarified that the stated expenditure did not originate from the governor’s office but encompassed the entire ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) in the state.

Anosike explained, “Following the publication of the Q3 budget report of the Abia State Government, and in line with the government’s commitment to transparency, good governance, and fiscal discipline, it has become necessary to shed more light on the aforementioned report.”

Contrary to the allegations, Anosike disclosed that the total amount spent by the entire government on refreshments and meals for the specified period was N223,389,889.84. He emphasized that this figure covered expenses for special events such as retreats and conferences across the state, dispelling the notion that it was specific to the Governor’s Office.

“For welfare, the Abia State Government has so far spent the sum of N397,520,734.84. The welfare expenditure is in line with the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability Programme, an initiative of the Federal Government,” Anosike clarified. He highlighted that the welfare expenditure addressed health, rehabilitation, and public emergencies and encompassed all MDAs, not solely the Governor’s Office.

The commissioner affirmed the government’s commitment to transparency in governance, citing the publication of budget performance reports for two consecutive quarters. He attributed the misrepresentation to a lack of proper capture and emphasized that the reported figure was an aggregation of spending across the 76 MDAs in the state.

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