By Archibong Jeremiah, House Of Assembly Correspondent
Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs in Cross River State have been warned to put on their best armor as they come to defend the budget of their various MDAs which is to commence on Tuesday, 8th December, 2015 at the floor of Cross River State House of Assembly.
The warming aimed at protecting the integrity of the House was sounded by the leadership of the Assembly recently in a stakeholders meeting to unveil the “2016 Budget of Deep Vision and release the guidelines for the defense process”.
As a yardstick to checkmate excesses related to the budget and general administration, the Speaker, Hon. John Gaul Lebo maintained that “All existing Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV), evidence of Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreements” shall be presented to the House on the defense days.
Furthermore, after revealing that there are some shady deals in the registration of some SPV’s where Directors of MDA’s are the Directors of the SPVs, he added that: “Those registered be attached to the MDA, an individual cannot be a Director of an SPV owned by the government, it has to be the Commissioner or government else, its criminal”.
The Speaker went on to advise the Commissioner for Justice/Attorney General, Joe Abang, Esq. that though he has respect for lawyers in his Ministry “but frankly speaking some cases are more than them” urging him to request for employment of more lawyers as well as strike deals with external lawyers.
Concluding he urged the Commissioners and others present to know and always remember that they are part of the conscience of the present administration, therefore they should be alert.
On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams drew the battle line with the Commissioners “Friendship ends outside there (waving his hands towards the outside of the chambers), when you come here it is serious business”.
Preparing their minds for the kind of battle they will be confronted with at the defense process, he said the following must be met, “Come with all your staff that have a role in the budget, if you don’t come with your full team we won’t take you.
“Get ready between now and Tuesday we won’t accept any delay. List of all revenue heads, actual performance so far, challenges and expectations. Personnel cost – nominal role, possible promotions for 2016 and retirements if any”.
In addition he added that they should also come with list of all projects showing status of projects, relocation, contractors, proposed amounts, time line of capital and challenges if any.
And they should as matter of importance show the funding sources, very important medium term plan and benefits.
The participants included some Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries, organized private sector among others who expressed readiness to ensure the effective implementation of the “2016 Budget of Deep Vision”.
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