Governor Alex Otti Spent N223million On Refreshments, N397million On Welfare For Entire State, Not Himself – Abia Government
The Abia State Government has stated that administration of Governor Alex Otti, spent N223million on feeding and welfare from July to September 2023.
SaharaReporters quoting from the state budet performance report had on Monday reported that Otti of Abia State spent a whopping N927million within three months on refreshment/meals, settlement of honorarium, allowances, and welfare packages.
The report titled “Abia State Third Quarter (July – September) 2023 Budget Performance” had also been posted on the state government’s website. (https://abiastate.gov.ng/abia-state-3rd-quarter-2023-budget-performance-report-2/)
In the report, the Otti-led government spent N223,389,889.84 on refreshment/meals, while N305,400,000.00 was spent on honorarium and sitting allowance for government officials within July and September, 2023.
The government also claimed it spent N397,520,734.00 on welfare packages. Further, according to the document, N737,922,661.25 was spent to buy motor vehicles. The quantity and those the vehicles were bought for were never stated.
Meanwhile, N362,804,050.00 was spent by the Abia government to purchase trucks and another N400,890,000.00 was used for the purchase of buses.
However, the state Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr Kingsley Anosike, in a press statement on Monday, described the reports as “a reflection of the mindset of the opposition to create mischief.”
He explained that the expenditure “was not by the governor’s office as alleged, but by the entire ministries, departments and agencies” in the state. He added that the total amount spent so far by the entire government for refreshments and meals for the period was N223,389,889.84.
Anosike said, “Following the publication of the Q3 budget report of the Abia State Government, and in line with the government’s commitment to transparency, good governance, and fiscal discipline, it has become necessary to shed more light on the aforementioned report.
“This is even more so when there are certain distorted reports on social media alleging that the Abia State Government had spent close to N1billion on feeding and welfare for the Governor’s Office, within the period under review.
“The accurate situation is that nothing in that region has been spent in the Governor’s Office.
“This figure is for the entire state and not for the Office of the Governor, as being erroneously portrayed. The stated figure covers expenses for special events, such as retreats, conferences, and related events.
“For welfare, the Abia State Government has so far spent the sum of N397,520,734.84. The Welfare expenditure is in line with the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability Programme; an initiative of the Federal Government.
“Also note that the welfare expenditure covers all the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies and not just the Governor’s Office, as wrongly alleged. Expenses under welfare deal with issues of health, rehabilitation, and public emergencies,” he further explained.
“The state government, under the leadership will continue to uphold transparency in governance, as has been demonstrated in the publication of the budget performance report for two consecutive quarters.”(SaharaReporters)