In every governmental set-up both at the state and national levels, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are major propellers in implementing policies and programmes of government.
In Akwa Ibom, the State House of Assembly approved N447,796,440 for the state government for its services in 2019 financial year.
A publication tagged: Annual Report of the Accountant General With Audited Financial Statements For The Year Ended 31st December, 2019 signed by Pastor Uwem S. Andrew-Essien, the state Accountant-General indicates that the state government got N244,483,959,969.73 from Federation Allocation Accounts Committee (FAAC) in 2019, showing a shortfall of N203,418,836,470.27 from the approved budget or 54.58 per cent.
At the same time, the government collected N35,504,936,358 as internally generated revenue.
Yet, the government spent N127,080,422,897.51 under Recurrent Expenditure, while N197,832,592,592.72 was spent on Capital Expenditure last year, according to the publication.
Despite the capital receipts by the government in 2019, there were some departments, agencies and commissions that did not receive a dime or allocation for Capital projects duly okayed by the House of Assembly and signed into law by the state Governor except money for Recurrent Expenditure, which is statutory.
Capital Expenditure comprises Administrative, Economic, Law and Justice, Regional and Social sectors while Recurrent Expenditure is made up of Personnel Costs, Overhead Costs, Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges, as well as Recurrent Grants and Subventions.
Non-Funded Departments, Agencies, Deparments, Commissions
For instance, in the Administration Sector, Akwa Ibom State Life Enhancement Agency was a major casualty as its the Capital projects were stalled. Though N270,491,000 was its approved budget, no funds was released.
Department of Establishment also suffered financial haemorrhage. Of N160,000,000 approved, no Kobo was released to oil its programmes and projects.
Executive Council Secretariat got no Kobo, despite its N10,000,000 approved budgetary provision.
House of Assembly Service Commission was not spared the financial kwashiorkor. Its N184,850,000 approved budget went down the drain in 2019.
State Agency for the Control of AIDS (SACA) was allocated N160,000,000, yet it could not access the funds.
Liaison Office Abuja got approved allocation of N110,000,000, but could not source money.
Under Economic Sector, Akwa Ibom State Fire Service was one of the non-beneficiaries of the approved budget. It was allocated N300,000,000, yet some of its fire-fighting equipment were moribund owing to non-release of funds.
Akwa Ibom State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency was allocated a whopping N500,000,000, but the agency was orphaned in accessing the money.
Akwa Ibom State Water Company Limited was unlucky to have gotten mouth-watering allocation of N700,000,000, yet could not smell the big sum.
Office of the Surveyor General got an elephant-size allocation of N2,500,000,000, but it could not draw the funds due to non-approval from the appropriate quarters.
Under Law and Justice Sector, Akwa Ibom State Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution was allocated N25,000,000, but the money was not released.
Law Reform Commission got an allocation of N100,000,000, but it could not access the funds.
Under Social Sector, Local Government Pension Board was allocated N50,500,000 while Local Government Service Commission got N597,000,000, yet they could secure approvals to access the funds.
On Non-funding of DAs
Okon Nnaetuk, accountant speaking with Straightnews publisher said “In 2019 Appropriation Bill, I presume all the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of government have their provisions. There is no MDA without mandate, otherwise it should be scrapped. The problem is always that of the release of funds to the MDAs by the Finance Ministry through the office of the Accountant General.
Nnaetuk, a retired Director of Funds, Office of Accountant General in Akwa Ibom State, noted “Normally, the authorization is issued by the ministry of finance based on the approval of His Excellency. What surprises is the basis of His Excellency’s withholding of approval of a particular application by a ministry for fund to execute a project duly approved and included in a state budget by the legislative arm (the Finance and Appropriation Committee).
According to him, “And the end of a financial year, the Public Accounts Committee calls for the audited accounts of the ministry for scrutiny. It surprises also if the Public Accounts Committee of the AKHA on noticing that a ministry was starved of funds, does not report to the house, whereupon the Governor should be asked to explain why a ministry with its approved mandate is rendered ineffective.
“The implications of starving a ministry of funds are many and varied. When a ministry does not perform, the economy is negatively affected. The negative effect could be felt in the sector the mandate of the affected ministry covers. If it is education, volume and quality of educational infrastructure provided will be reduced and this in turn affects greatly quality of teaching and learning.
“Students’ performance in public and qualifying examinations will be poor and the state will not be able to fill its university admission quota. Job vacancies in federal government agencies will be missed by citizens of the state. In health sector, our hospital equipment and health care facilities will continue to be poor.
“In the State our indigenous medical students find it difficult to be taken for internship in our hospitals because of lack of funds. In agriculture farmers have not received the loans and grants government promised them and fertilizers are in very short supply as the affected ministry cannot procure the commodities and the necessary farm implements.
“Overall, when certain ministries have not had their funds, duly provided in the budget, released to them, the result is the stultification of projects envisaged by that ministry. This leads to frustration and project abandonment. It can mean that the project will cost more to execute following review and rearward of projects earlier abandoned.
“Often, project abandonment engenders bad blood in the community the project was sited and the people become disenchanted with the government. It could trigger off political friction resulting in a community calling for removal of commissioners believed to be incompetent. In my opinion the House of Assembly should be vigilant and alive to their oversight function, to ensure MDAs are funded to be able to deliver on their mandates,” Nnaetuk said.