Akwa Ibom State government is said to be parting with a whopping N7 billion monthly to service debt left over by the immediate past administration.
The former Commissioner for Economic Development in the state, Mr Jerry Akpan, who disclosed this to newsmen in Uyo on Monday, lamented that considering the huge income which came into the state during the said administration, what was achieved did not represent 2/3 of the amount received, which was also a surprise that the administration still ran in any debt.
Akpan who was also a Special Adviser on Political Affairs to the then Gov. Godawill Akpabio said the present administration would have performed better if it were not overburdened with huge inherited debt.
He, however, admitted that though with lesser income, the administration had touched Akwa Ibom people in more concrete ways than the former which basked in such much funds from the federation account.
“Akpabio administration was lucky to have received so much money from the federation account, but we didn’t put down 2/3 of the money so received, otherwise Akwa Ibom State could have been one of the best in Africa. That’s why the then Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela, said that what was on the ground in the state was less than one percent of what was received.
“Yet he had the mind to leave behind so much debt burden which would take this government time to pay. Are you not aware that N7b is deducted every month from the state’s allocation to pay Akpabio administration’s debt? Yet so much money was wasted, so much was stolen,” Akpan alleged.
He said he was still guilty of being used by the previous administration to deceive Akwa Ibom people of the last administration’s plan to establish 31 industries across the 31 local government areas of the state, a promise which was only a scam.
“As the political adviser of that administration, I was always mobilised to go on air to assure the people that government was going to build one industry in each of the 31 local government areas of the state. We used that as our major campaigns point for the second term, yet not even one was built. Now I feel very guilty that they used me to deceive Akwa Ibom people.”
Asked why he and other stakeholders could not speak up on time said, Akpan replied: “Didn’t you hear the number of people who were either killed or kidnapped. Recall that if that government promised to give you N10m for instance, they must go on air to announce to the whole world and the moment the money is released, either your father or mother or wife would be kidnapped, and the same amount that was given to you would be demanded as ransom. So it was difficult to speak out. I wanted to resign but my wife prevented me.”
He commended Gov Emmanuel for restoring absolute peace in the state and maintained that though with lower income, the impact of the present administration had penetrated every sector and corner of the state.
The state government neither confirmed nor denied the huge inherited allegation.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh, who filled in for his Finance counterpart, Mr Linus Nkan, who never responded to enquiries on the issue, said:”The income and expenditure profile of the Akwa Ibom State since May 2015, is captured in details as contained in its published audited annual financial reports and account.
“Akwa Ibom is probably one of the few states, if not the only one to put details of its financials in the public domain. This reinforces the government’s determination to remain focused on its path of sustainable development through people-oriented projects, a clear departure from the era of monuments,” Udoh said.