The Ekiti State House of Assembly on Thursday debated the state 2017 Revised Appropriation Bill and committed it to scrutiny by its Committee on Finance after the Bill scaled second reading at plenary on the floor of the House.
The House, which first received the report of a special five-man committee on special projects of the Ayo Fayose-led administration, unanimously voted that the draft bill be sent to the appropriate committee of the House for further scrutiny before it was passed into law.
The Leader of House Business, Hon. Olatunji Akinyele, who introduced the Bill, noted that changes to government policies that were unexpected at the beginning of the financial year necessitated the need to consider the bill for accelerated passage so as to enhance activities of the government in the remaining part of the year.
Akinyele said: “Changes in government policies in the course of the year, occasioned, for example, by paucity of funds and so on are responsible for a revision of the budget.
“There are cases where projected revenues were not forthcoming and the Federal Allocation not adequate to fund government projects and policies.
“For example, nothing was appropriated for youth corps members’ allowances.
“And the government thought that this should be remedied.
“In some cases, the revised appropriation bill seeks to cut funds allocated to some sector for funds to spread to other areas.
“When we talk about budget revision, it is not always increase in the initial funds voted; it could be a decrease of such.
“Sending this bill to the House highlights the transparency of the Fayose-led administration.
“As such, the bill needs accelerated passage.”
Buttressing Akinyele’s stand, the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Kola Oluwawole, noted that a cursory look at the draft bill showed that funds appropriated to certain sectors had been drastically reduced in the draft revised bill.
“For example, the N7 billion initially allocated to the social sector has been drastically reduced to N4 billion in the revised bill,” Oluwawole said.
Members of the House, including Akinleye Ekundayo, Sina Animasaun and the Chairman of the House Finance Committee, Samuel Jeje, who spoke on the floor, supported the quick passage of the bill “so as to enable the government machinery to run without hitch in the remaining part of the year”.