By Peter Bassey
A total of 14 ministries yesterday the 9th of Jan. 2016, appearred before the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation of the CRSHA. There include:
1. New City Development
2. Youths and Sports Development
3. Local Government Affairs
4. Woman Affairs
5. Ministry of Health
6. Inland Water Ways
7. Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
8. Ministry of Power
9. Department of Public Transport (DOPT)
10. Commercial Transport Regulatory Agency
11. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
12. Ministry of Justice
13. Establishment and Training and
14. Ministry of Water Resources.
Rt. Hon. Eteng Williams who had prior before the commencement of the exercise in his opening remark said “Today’s budget proceedings is a process that will affect Cross Riverians positively and the generation unborn, we are not here to probe anybody but to fashion a way forward…”.
As part of the committee’s Statutory responsibility to scrutinized the budget before it passage, members of the committee took a whip at some ministries/agencies that have not lived up to expectation. One of such ministries is the ministry of local government affairs. The committee frown seriously at several issues pertaining to the ministry including the inability of the ministry to pay salaries of local government staff up to date, refusal of the 18 LGA’s to carry out the 1million compulsory contributions to the Cross River State Reserve Fund which the Committee insisted was backed by law as well as the absence of budgetary provisions for local government elections, knowing too well that the state will no longer access federal allocation if they failed to conduct local government polls on or before May this year. All efforts to render explanation to the committee by representatives of the ministry including the Director of Chart proved abortive as the house insisted that the right thing must be done to leverage the sufferings of the people and avoid embarrassment.
Also on the offensive side was the ministry of Power which according to report has allowed Obanliku LGA to be cut out of the national grid in respect to electricity for quit a long time now. A situation members described as unacceptable. The commissioner also failed to render acceptable explanations on the floor of the house. The committee has vowed to interface with those responsible for imposing such a hardship on the people of Obanliku, part of Ikom and CRSHA complex/quarters.
Meanwhile, the commercial Transport Regulatory Agency had been adjudge the best so far in terms of revenue generation performance. Also worthy of note is the fact that the house committee also commended the ministry of New City Development as well as the ministry of Water Resources/Water Board for a job well done.