Joe Effiong, Uyo
To commissioners and other heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Akwa Ibom, the fear of the House of Assembly is the beginning of wisdom.
The fear , however, does no emanate from the scrutiny of performances or activities of the MDAs which is part of the oversight of the House, but rather, from alleged extortion whenever heads of MDSs appear before the legislators.
Daily Sun learnt in recent days, heads of MDAs are cringing in fear of possible exploitation as they prepare to defend their 2020 departmental budgets before relevant committees of the House.
Head of one of the agencies who pleaded anonymity, said budget implementation review by the legislators has turned to an avenue to exploit and extort money from MDAs.
“Budget implementation reviews was designed for MDAs to work with the Finance and Appropriation committee of the House to check the extent to which the budget had been implemented, and how monies approved and released were utilized
“Unfortunately, the legislature, especially the committee in charge of finance has decided to make that an avenue to draw money from the MDAs; they do not even bother to look at files, their major concern rests on the amount released to ministries and what percentage you have to offer them,” the source alleged.
A member of the Executive Council who wouldn’t want to be named, confirmed the allegation saying the trend was straining the relationship between the executive and legislature.
“It is not just true, but it has become a very worrisome trend. Many of my colleagues are scared of where they would get funds to appear and defend their ministry’s budget
“The sad aspect is that we belong to the same political party and should work in accord, but the way they go about is very unfortunate,” said the official.
Chairman, House Committee on Information, Mr. Aniefiok Akpan debunked the allegation, saying the rumour has always been there but that nobody has ever come out with evidence to substantiate the allegation.