Thursday, 17 September 2015

Frivolous spending: Udom reads riot act

The days of wanton spending and free flow of cash appears to be over if Governor Udom Emmanuel’s recent position is anything to go by. The current administration, as predicted by political enthusiasts is not one that is given to excessive spending of resources much less as the federal allocation has shrunk significantly. Going by how the governor has undertaken the task of governance in the past three months, it is becoming clear by the day that Udom Emmanuel is acting true to type. 

For Commissioners in the current dispensation, it is surely not business as usual as far as salaries, allowances and other pecks of office are concerned. The easy and free access to money has now been regulated and the days of dishing out monies that went unaccounted for has gone with the winds, so it appears. The governor, analysts say is careful not to operate beyond its means considering the cash crunch that has hit many states owing to falling oil prices and depletion of dollars.
 Worst hit in the ongoing reduction of salaries and other benefits of office are Council Chairmen who have had their Security Votes pegged at N1m (One Million Naira) as against the practice before now where they had the liberty to lay claim to humongous amounts as it suited their whims and caprices. Those days seem gone and the Chairmen will now have to make do with what is on the table. The Governor has also cut the salaries of SAs and PAs from what used to be their take home to N250, 000 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira). This move, THE INK learnt is aimed at cutting the cost of governance in a bid to free more money for government to carry out its programmes.

A highly placed source who spoke to our reporter on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter explained that Governor Udom Emmanuel is not going to toe the line of the last administration due to the lean resources available to it. He noted that the Governor is committed to industrialising the start hence needs to cut down some frivolous expenses to actualise its vision and mission. “Udom is a trained financial expert and will not operate as a ‘typical’ politician. Don’t forget that the monthly allocation has plummeted too unlike what accrued to the state during the administration of Godswill Akpabio. The time where Pas and SAs lived in luxury has passed. Udom will not tolerate any of such; that is one of the reasons he immediately banned the ‘Crowd Control Unit’ (CCU) as soon as he came in.’’

Our reporter gathered that some offices that are not of any significance to the running of government may also be scrapped even as those who engaged in underhand tactics to siphon Government money may soon be stopped in their tracks even as the governor moves in to rein in those whose stock in trade was to defraud government through falsehood and phantom projects.  Findings by THE INK reveal that Governor Udom Emmanuel is committed to blocking all the loopholes where Government resources went down the drains thereby depriving it of resources to carry out projects.

Meanwhile, the slashing of Security Votes of Council Chairmen has not gone down well with some of them; most of who have been taken aback by the development. Our reporter gathered that some of the Chairmen are not finding the reality on ground funny due to what some of them described as the Governor’s tight-fistedness in money issues.  one of the Council Chairmen who spoke with this Paper observed that in as much as what the Governor has done is in line with the reality of the times, he however noted that is a huge setback for them since they will no longer have enough money to take care of the demands of the people. 

“In as much as we commend the Governor’s avowed determination to industrialise the state, we are not happy with the cutting of our security votes. In the last administration, we had enough and to spare but now, we have to make do with a paltry N1m. The amount is too small considering the enormous responsibilities ahead of us. Am afraid, the Governor’s action may have huge implications on him if there is a rerun in the state.’’

While some sections of the people believe that the Governor’s move is in order considering the financial situation of the country, some are not particularly happy with the Governor especially those directly affected by the development. But it appears those in support of Governor Udom Emmanuel are on the high side and are willing to wholeheartedly support his action.

THE INK learnt further that some serving Commissioners are not at ease with the development but are careful not to let their feelings known to ward off any untoward incident especially since the petition by the APC and Umana Okon Umana is still raging at the Tribunal.

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