Government of Abia State denies spending N927 million on meals.

by Amos Kalu

The Abia State Government has refuted accusations claiming that Alex Otti, the state governor, spent more than N900 million on welfare and food programs between July and September of 2023.

According to media sources, Otti spent N927 million on meals and drinks, honoraria payments, welfare benefits, and allowances in just three months.

The state’s commissioner for budget and planning, Mr. Kingsley Anosike, clarified that the expenditure “was not by the governor’s office as alleged, but by the entire ministries, departments and agencies” in the state, calling the reports “a reflection of the opposition’s mindset to create mischief” in a press release on Monday.

“It has become necessary to shed more light on the aforementioned report in line with the government’s commitment to transparency, good governance, and fiscal discipline,” stated Anosike, in response to the release of the Abia State Government’s Q3 budget report.

This is made even more apparent by certain false stories on social media that claim the Abia State Government spent about N1 billion on the governor’s office’s food and welfare during the time period under consideration.

“It is true that the Governor’s Office has not spent any money in that area.”

According to Anosike, the government has already spent N223,389,889.84 on meals and refreshments for the duration.

“This number applies to the entire state, not just the Office of the Governor, as has been incorrectly depicted.” The amount mentioned includes costs for special events like conferences, retreats, and associated activities.

The Abia State Government has so far spent N397,520,734.84 on welfare. The welfare expenditure is compliant with the Federal Government’s State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability Programme.

Additionally, take notice that, contrary to what is falsely claimed, welfare spending encompasses all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies in addition to the Governor’s Office. He went on, “Expenses under welfare address health, rehabilitation, and public emergencies.

Under Otti’s direction, the state government “will continue to uphold transparency in governance, as demonstrated by the publication of the budget performance report for two consecutive quarters,” the speaker stated.

The amount is the total of all the expenditures made by the 76 MDAs in the state under this heading. He stated, “The way it was portrayed was poorly caught and entirely misleading.

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