With the fiscal year in its fifth month, the Ondo State government is still grappling with challenges of putting together its 2017 budget, raising anxieties and uncertainties in various quarters.
Although Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has been paying salaries regularly since he assumed office in February, the inability to send a budget to the House of Assembly for consideration has been described by the opposition parties as a show of the governor’s unpreparedness for governance.
The Peoples Democratic Party in the state had insinuated that the failure to put the budget in place points to poor understanding of the business of governance.
Also, members of the Assembly had been at loggerheads shortly before the new government came into office in February, having been embroiled in a leadership tussle.
The then Olusegun Mimiko-led PDP government attempted to bring the appropriation bill to the house for consideration, but that attempt was subverted by some members of the house, supposedly loyal to the incoming government.
However, after five months of bickering, dusts seem to have settled at the legislative chambers and the worries that the crisis at the house had hindered the presentation of the budget has been proven wrong.
A member of the house, Sunday Olajide, who represents Akure South Constituency II, told PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday that the house was ready to receive the budget, as it had resolved all its outstanding issues.
“The house cannot consider what is not presented before it,” he said. “We heard from grapevine that the governor is preparing the budget.
“I can assure you that once they are ready to present it, we will give it an accelerated consideration.”
Mr. Olajide also noted that the issues affecting the house had been laid to rest and that all 26 members were now together.
He, however, noted that the house had been on a working recess in the last three weeks.
The Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Abayomi Adesanya, in his response, said the budget preparation was delayed because of the extent of rot in the system left behind by the last administration.
He said the budget “supposedly prepared” by the Mimiko government was not handed over to Mr. Akeredolu, just as he said the handing over process was not smooth.
“The last government did not hand over properly, and so we met a lot of rot when this government came into office,” Mr. Adesanya said.
“So, the Governor Akeredolu has been working night and day to clear the mess met on ground and that is why it appears that there are delays.”
Mr. Adesanya further explained that the governor was currently receiving briefs from all the agencies and would soon be done with that; then the budget would be ready.
“I believe that the government is currently putting finishing touches on the document and I believe that very soon the budget will be presented,” he said.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Segun Ajiboye, did not respond to calls made to his phone line. He also did not respond to a text message sent to him on the issue.
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