Cross River – In light of a recent publication by “The Investigator” which critiqued the third-quarter expenditure of the Cross River State Government, the administration, led by Gov Bassey Otu, a sociopolitical group has issued a detailed response addressing these concerns.
The allegations outlined in “The Investigator’s” publication primarily highlighted the following points:
1. An emphasis on expenditure within the Chief of Staff’s office over key sectors of the state.
2. Alleged negligence of sectors such as health, water, sanitation, and social welfare, as they had zero capital allocations while the Chief of Staff’s office received 25% of the released funds.
3. A reported disbursement of 5.7 billion naira for the Chief of Staff’s office out of a total disbursement of 23.21 billion naira, raising concerns.
4. Mentioned expenditure of 11.9 billion naira for the Chief of Staff’s office in the second quarter of 2023.
5. Criticism that recurrent expenditures outweighed capital expenses, possibly affecting human and infrastructure development.
6. Claims that the Cross River State House of Assembly received zero funds for personnel, overhead, and capital expenditure, implying a possible executive arm attempt to hinder its oversight functions.
In response, Mr. Tom Johnson of 3rd Force in Support of Good Governance, has provided a detailed defense, including the following points:
1. The government underscored that the Chief of Staff’s office is pivotal during the first quarter of an administration, playing a crucial role in coordinating and allocating expenditures, which include official vehicle purchases, office renovations, security provisions, and other essential services.
2. The administration refuted the allegations of neglect in essential services, citing a significant investment in sanitation, health, and social welfare, emphasizing the importance of addressing the state’s environmental sanitation crisis.
3. Spending in the Chief of Staff’s office was contextualized as transparent and aimed at facilitating efficient future governance.
4. The government defended the mix of recurrent and capital expenditures, highlighting the necessity of recurrent spending in critical areas such as security, debt servicing, personnel costs, pensions, and subvention.
5. The government noted that the State House of Assembly has received the necessary funding to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities independently, which includes approving loans for debt clearance and vehicle purchases to aid their oversight functions.
6. The response contends that the publication by “Policy Alert” lacks a factual basis, implying that it is an attempt to discredit the administration without conducting comprehensive research or consulting relevant government officials. The government is committed to transparency, objectivity, and delivering services to the people of Cross River State.
In conclusion, the administration of His Excellency Prince Bassey Edet Otu intends to address criticism transparently, emphasizing the importance of accountability, objectivity, and service delivery to the citizens.