The Abia State Government has described as false reports that the state governor, Alex Otti, spent over N900 million on feeding and welfare from July to September 2023.
Media reports have it that Otti spent N927 million within three months on refreshments/meals, settlement of honorarium, allowances, and welfare packages.
However, in a press statement on Monday, the state Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr Kingsley Anosike, described the reports as “a reflection of the mindset of the opposition to create mischief”, explaining that the expenditure “was not by the governor’s office as alleged, but by the entire ministries, departments and agencies” in the state.
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 N1 billion 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”.
Anosike explained the total amount spent so far by the entire government for refreshments and meals for the period is N223,389,889.84.
“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 of Otti, he said “will continue to uphold transparency in governance, as has been demonstrated in the publication of the budget performance report for two consecutive quarters.
“The figure is an aggregation of all the spending under this headline across the 76 MDAs in the state. The way it was presented was not well captured and completely misrepresented,” he concluded.