The publicised 2018 budget presentation by Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State was unceremoniously called off yesterday following an apparent misunderstanding between the executive and the state House of Assembly.The action of the lawmakers is the first since Okorocha became governor in 2011.
A statement issued on Sunday, November 26, by Okorocha’s Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, had notified that the governor would present the budget.Officials of the assembly said the lawmakers were not interested in receiving the governor. They also accused the governor for not interfacing with them before announcing the budget presentation.
A member of the assembly representing Aboh Mbaise, Mike Iheanetu, who spoke with The Guardian, said the governor was unable to address the issues they had posed to him before asking them to listen to him. Part of the issue was the Paris Club refund and constituency project.
His words: ‘’What we are saying is that Imo people should know how much bailout fund, Paris Club Refund was given to the state. Give us the performance report.’’
However, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, in a statement, said the presentation was postponed, stressing that the new date would be made known to the public.
The statement said: ‘’With utmost regret, we wish to inform the public that the announced presentation of the 2018 budget to the Imo State House of Assembly by the governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, fixed for Tuesday, November 28, 2017 could no longer hold, owing largely to disturbing discrepancies discovered in the budget speech.
‘’A new date for the budget presentation will, as usual, be made public.‘’We regret this development. And we appeal to all those concerned with the exercise to bear with us.‘’Once again, we regret the development.’’
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