- As Speaker resigns
- Adams Dima emerges new Speaker
Rivers State House of Assembly has passed the 2016 Appropriation Bill of N307 billion following its presentation and submission to the assembly by the state Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Twenty members of the House, including the substantive Speaker, passed the Appropriation bill.
Also, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, resigned his position insisting that he was pressured into presiding and ensuring the budget was passed without being subjected to the usual processes.
The House had through a motion moved by its Leader, Hon. Martin Amaewhule, to suspend Order 50 of the House Rules relying on Order 51, gone ahead to debate on the budget.
Debating on the budget after the House was converted to a Committee of the Whole, Amaewhule argued that the budget has taken all sectors of the state’s economy into consideration, and called for its speedy passage.
In addition, Deputy Leader, Hon. Dinebari Loolo, submitted that the budget is targeted to meet the needs of the people, adding that it would afford Rivers people to benefit from the government at the centre.
Commenting, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani said the House had taken into account all variables in the budget.
Earlier, the state governor, Barr Nyesom Wike, in presenting the 2016 Appropriation Bill of N307billion tagged “Budget of Consolidation around 5:20 p.m. on the floor of the House remarked that the 2015 budget could not be adequately implemented as funds were diverted by the previous administration.
The presentation of the 2016 Appropriation Bill came barely a week after the Assembly passed the 2015 Supplementary Appropriation Bill of N104.2 billion.
Wike stated that sources of revenue for the budget would include, federal allocation, VAT, IGR with a benchmark projection of crude oil price at $35 per barrel.
He further stated that the government would complete ongoing projects and award new ones where necessary.
According to him, recurrent expenditure stands at N120 billion, while capital expenditures would gulp the sum of N187 billion, respectively.
Wike also stated that the government would diversify the economy of the state from oil to agriculture and industrialisation in order to curb unemployment and as well assist security agencies to fight crime and criminality.
Nigerian Pilot Saturday recalls that expedite passage of the state’s appropriation bill is not the first, as the immediate past governor, Chibuike Amaechi, had enjoyed similar gesture in the passage of the 2014 budget.
Meanwhile, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, who resigned immediately, following the passage of the budget, said he did so for personal reasons.
While thanking friends and foes alike for the support he received throughout his tenure as Speaker from June 1, this year to date, Ibani said his resignation was purely personal.
“As this juncture, I would want to step down as Speaker Rivers State House of Assembly, reasons personal to me”, he stated.
Meanwhile, the House has gone ahead to elect Hon. Adams Dabotoru Dima representing Okrika Constituency as the new Speaker. Twenty-three lawmakers voted to approve nomination of the new speaker.