GOVERNOR Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, yesterday, assented to the state’s 2022 Appropriation Bill of N586.9 billion.
Emmanuel signed the budget at the Government House, Uyo during an expanded executive council meeting.
This followed the passage of the 2022 budget, christened, ‘Redefining Standards’ by the state House of Assembly, December 2, 2021.
He commended the state House of Assembly, Ministry of Finance, Budget Office, Accountant-General and other government agencies involved in the budgetary process for the timely passage of the bill.
He said it became expedient to sign the bill early enough in the week to allow for smooth winding down of the year 2021, considering nearness to Christmas, the accompanying holidays and envisaged reduced productivity of the state’s predominantly Christian work force.
He expressed hope that funds will be available for optimum implementation of the budget, stressing: “We are believing, that with God on our side, 2022 will be better than 2021.”
Directs payment of salaries, pensions before Christmas
The governor directed the state Accountant-General, Andrew Essien, to ensure the payment of salaries and pension of public servants and retirees in the state on or before December 23, to support their Yuletide celebration.
He said: “I have given an order to the Accountant-General to try and pay civil servants’ salaries almost immediately. We are a Christian state, whether Federal Government gives us money or not, we must look for money anywhere to make sure that our people hold their Christmas.
‘’We need at least N10 billion to be able to pay salaries. Pensioners must also be paid. It has to be done between now and Thursday, because Friday is Christmas eve.”
The state executive council meeting witnessed the formal presentation of the recent Cleanest State Award trophy won by the state for the fourth consecutive year to the governor.
Responding, the governor commended the Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and Waste Management Agency for making the state proud, and urged the agency to brace up for greater exploits in coming years.