Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Amid the dense cloud of pessimism and criticism that has continued to trail the manner of application of the N10 billion the Delta State Government received from the Paris Club refund, the state Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, wednesday directed the state Accountant-General to produce a comprehensive report of the disbursement of the fund.
Delta State reportedly got N10billion of the fund and the government has in the recent past made spirited attempt to clarify that the funds were not misapplied following a gale of criticisms from opposition parties and other segment of the society over the funds disbursement as explained by the government.
Okowa was speaking at the second Annual Audit Forum for Stakeholders organised by the office of the auditor-general of the state in collaboration with State Employment and Expenditure for Result (SEEFOR), with support from the World Bank and European Union, held at the Grand Hotel Asaba yesterday.
The governor noted that the report from the auditor-general would present the state government with opportunity for a comprehensive appraisal of how the money in question was applied or spent at various levels.
According to earlier explanations by the governor, and amplified by several government functionaries, N2.1 billion of the N10 billion was allocated to the 25 local government councils in the state to offset salary arrears.
Of the N7.9 billion that was statutorily due to Delta State Government, it reportedly spent N1.3billion on Contributory Pension Arrears, N1.7billion for deductions due to (workersâ€™) co-operatives societies and N315 million allocated for state contributions to pension for the month of May 2016.
â€œOthers include N174 million for restoration of BVN issues related salaries; N475 million – augmentation of July 2017 salary; N300 million – part payment of outstanding arrears of past services of State Contributory Pension Scheme; N318 million – support to Local Government Councils to pay June 2017 Salaries; N3.5 billion – capital/recurrent expenditure approvals and it totals, N7.9 billion,â€ the government had said.
According to the state Auditor General Mr. C.G Amudo, in his opening remark, the audit forum was pulling over 450 stakeholders in the state for the two days event to brainstorm on the topic emerging trends in transparent and accountable conduct of government business with core focus on the imperative of accurate book keeping.
In his paper accounting for government expenditure the Auditor General of Cross River State, Mr. Chris Etim Nyong, noted that government expenditure involved a strategic planning where policy, plan and budget were linked in the medium term.
He added that public procurement must follow due process in order to guarantee value for money, noting that adequate books of account must be maintained in order to track government expenditure for accountability.
Nonetheless, Okowa charged auditors-general to ensure prudent in management of resources at all times especially due to dwindling revenue.