Friday, December 20, 2013

Okorocha’s Failure To Implement Budgets Mars 2014 Presentation

APC, PDP Lawmakers Battle As Gov Visits Assembly After Failed Attempt List of Budgets Not Yet Implemented Construction of New Gates = (N15 billion) Monumental Projects: Ecumenical Centre, Five star crystal Hotel, Princess Hotel, Akachi Towers, multi level car park, etc = (N29 billion) Construction of 100 sec school blocks/primary School blocks in 305 wards = (20 billion) Construction of 10 Industries = (10 billion) City Roads/15 klms LGA Roads = (N80 billion) Imo State University Permanent Site (N15 billion) Government House, Owerri (N10 billion).

The economy of Imo State could be in a quagmire the coming year if reports reaching Trumpeta concerning reasons behind Tuesday’s botched presentation of 2014 budget by Governor Rochas Okorocha is anything to go by.

 Apart from announcements in the state-owned Imo Broadcasting Corporation, IBC, that Okorocha will present the 2014 budget Tuesday, office holders and heads of government establishments thronged the make-shift Imo State House of Assembly Complex at Ikemba Ojukwu Centre on Concorde Road for the event. After waiting for several hours without the governor showing appearance and lawmakers not in a mood for the budget presentation, it became clearer that the presentation of budget event has been cancelled for this week.

 Trumpeta exclusively gathered that the non presentation of the budget was hinged on the fact that the previous budgets approved for the governor by the Members of the House were either not executed or jettisoned by the governor to undertake unwarranted expenditures not catered for in the fiscal provision and appropriation. It was discovered that there was zero performance on budget performance as the state government never cared for budget review and assessment as well allowing oversight function from the state legislature.

 "It would be recalled that Okorocha not only sent a four-year rolling plan budget of N190 billion to the Imo State House of Assembly leading to the approval and passage into Law of the 2012-2015 Imo State Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) known as “The Imo Rescue Development Plan” with a total size of N224 billion (Two hundred and twenty-four billion) naira but also on Monday, 3rd December, 2012, Okorocha approached the state legislature for approval of N197b for year 2013 budget. The 2013 budget christened “The Rescue Budget 2 was also anchored on the 2012-2015 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (Imo Rescue Development Plan). The capital allocations and projects in the budget are all part of the entire package."

 Information by Assembly sources that the Members of the House are displeased that despite the express approval and passage of the budgets for the governor, most of the targeted projects in the four-year rolling plan and Imo Rescue Development Plan have not been met or realized by the state government.

 Annoying to the general public is the non-realization of the construction of new city gates and construction of 10 industries in the state at the cost of N15billion each. According to a proposal read by the Speaker, Ben Uwajumogu during deliberations for the four-year rolling plan budget, it would have construction for 10 industries at the cost of N15 billion and construction of new city gates sitting also valued at N15bn. Till date, no ailing or new industry has been revived or erected even as the proposed city gates expected to be stationed at Major entrances to the state capital do not exist. It is only between Orlu and Njaba LGA where a gigantic gate was erected including the two gates on Concord Hotel road. With a year and some months left for the four-year budget to elapse, the lawmakers and indeed Imolites are querying if the cost of building the aforementioned gates can cost only N15 billion.

 More disturbing is the non implementation of the 2012-2015 Medium Term Development Plan (Imo Rescue Plan) agenda of monumental projects pegged at N29 billion, and building of befitting hospitals in each of the LGAs put at N15 billion as well as N20bn for construction of Model Primary School blocks in each of the 305 INEC wards and 100 Secondary Schools blocks in the state. Same applies to N15 billion and N10 billion voted for building of the permanent site of the Imo State University, Owerri and Government House, Owerri.

 After making the proposal public, the Speaker constituted a joint legislative/Executive Committee to handle the proposal. Membership comprised the House Committee Chairman on Budget and Appropriation, Hon Barr Eudora Igwe, as Chairman, other lawmakers are Stan Dara, Simeon Iwunze, Ikenna Emeh, Ngozi Pat-Ekeji and Samuel Anyanwu.

 Those from the executive arm are Commissioner for Finance, Chike John Okafor, the then Permanent Secretary of Poverty Alleviation bureau, now retired, Obinna Ufomadu and former Economic Adviser to the Governor and now Commissioner for Internal Generated Revenue and Pensions, Nick Opara Ndudi after which the Members gave the go-ahead for the implementation.
Defending the four-year rolling budget, former Information Commissioner, now Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Chinedu Offor said that Okorocha’s budget has unique future because it has a rolling 4-year budget that has taken into account all capital projects within the tenure of the Rescue Mission administration.

 Two years after the budget was approved, the lawmakers are lamenting that no meaningful work is on ground so far to indicate the huge amount appropriated so far by the state government.
On the issue of N29 billion mapped out for monumental projects, it was discovered that the no substantial work has been done at the various sites of designated areas for the monumental projects even as the relevant industries are in comatose without establishment for new ones. The much touted Princes and Crystal Hotels for Okigwe and Orlu Zones respectively, Ecumenical Centre known as Amarachi and Magnificent Towers (Akachi), Monumental Hotels projects for which the N29 billion was earmarked have been abandoned and contractors eloped after collecting about 70% of the contract sum for one of the legacy prospects. The projects are still at the foundation stages including the project at Ama JK called Heartland Centre for multi-level car parks, where the contractor also allegedly disappeared after getting mobilization fund of about N3bn.

" Since there was no review of budget performance of the previous appropriation, the lawmakers it was gathered realized that the 15-kilometre road project in each of the LGAs valued at N35 billion has not been executed whereas controversy trailed the N20bn mapped out for construction of school blocks in 305 primary schools and 100 secondary schools in the state."

" To worsen the situation, the N15bn voted for building of IMSU permanent site became a fiery tale with no site and work in place to justify inclusion.
Trumpeta was further told that the lawmakers who are empowered by the constitution to make the approvals and engage in oversight functions of monitoring budget implementations are not satisfied that what is on ground does not justify the amount made available for the legacy projects expected to have put Imo in the Guinness Books of Record."

 The members are insisting that the performance of the previous budgets be ascertained before the 2014 presentation. It was this resolution that forced the House to ignore the coming of the Governor prompting the Chief executive of the state to shelve the event.

 After face-mending discussion among the members propelled by the leadership of the House early yesterday, the lawmakers later met to approve the Supplementary budget ahead 2014 budget presentation today. The sum of N44.6b was approved instead of the requested N57bn.

 However, the resolution to allow Okorocha have the supplementary budget yesterday and also be permitted to present the 2014 Appropriation Bill did not come easy with skirmishes characterizing the pre-plenary session meeting at the office of the Speaker. There was serious disagreement to either allow or stop the Governor have the supplementary budget and present the 2014 budget today.
Sentiments flowed among party lives especially between PDP and APC members who greeted the development with discordant tunes. While Pro-APC members favoured the Governor, PDP cliques kicked against the move stating that was unwarranted." source: imotrumpeta