Kindly Share This Story:Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State By Harris Emanuel
Uyo — Akwa Ibom State government has been called upon to make specific budget allocations to People WIth Disabilities (PWD) in the state to give them a sense of belonging in the scheme of things.
Secretary-General, State Joint Association of Persons with Disabilities, Prince Akaninyene Isidore, made the appeal at a meeting organised by the Ministry of Economic Development and Ibom DeepSea Port ministry in conjunction with the State Ministry of Finance.
The meeting was meant to receive feedback from the public on the amended 2020 budget as well as to work out modalities for gathering inputs for the soon to be prepared 2021 budget.
Isidore disclosed that no fewer than 2000 children with disabilities were out of school in the state, and called for the remodelling of public schools to enable such children have access to conventional education.
“We appeal to the state government to make budgetary provision for remodelling of public schools to be inclusive and accessible. We also want the state government to adopt the draft proposal for inclusive education in the state”, he said.
He drew the state government attention to a bill to prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, appealing to and used the 7th Assembly to facilitate the process of passing such bill into law.
Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deepsea Port, Akan Okon said the 2021 budget is opened to public inputs as it would focus on the provision of pro-poor stimulus package as well as pay attention to food and health-related expenditures.READ ALSO: Akwa Ibom, Abia urge FG to establish police at warring border communities
He said “We will also focus on; protection of the means of livelihoods and increasing food security to poor and vulnerable families, facilitating the recovery of local economic activities as well as household micro-enterprises and generation of employment, especially for the youths, through labour-intensive public work and commercial agriculture.
“We encourage members of the public to freely make inputs to the phone lines, web addresses and social media sites provided for contributions to the budget planning.”
Speaking on behalf of the Civil Society Organisations, Dr Harry Udoh, state Chairman harps on the need for transparency in budget planning and implementation processes to enable citizens, as beneficiaries to play an active role in a plan which concerns them.
Udoh who however queried the reviewed 2020 budget for its failure to specifically identify plans and projects, also appealed to the Ministry of Economic Development to speak to the Governor to assent to the fiscal responsibility act that was signed into law.
He said, “The citizens budget committee set up last year is a step in the right direction. If the budget is for the people then they must be involved. We, therefore, commend the state government for creating the opportunity.
“We must ensure transparency and accountability in governance. Hope the process would be extended to the Local Government to get people to make inputs on how to go about the 2021 budget. Responsiveness to the yearnings and aspirations of the public is the best form of governance”.