Groups allege secrecy in Imo appropriation process
• Speaker dismisses allegation
Two Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have accused Imo State Government and the House of Assembly of not keeping transparent budget and appropriation systems for the past 18 years.
The NGOs, Imo Citizens Accountability Assembly and Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR), said the lawmakers do not carry stakeholders along in considering the appropriation bill.
Addressing journalists jointly in Owerri, capital city of the state, at the weekend, the Legal Director of the CCIDESOR, Chidi Igwe and Tony Osuoha, of the Imo Citizens Accountability Assembly, charged the lawmakers to change the trend.
He said: ''We are holding this media engagement to let citizens, media and other stakeholders to know that since 18 years of democracy, Imo state has been run without open budget. This means that for 18 years, citizens have never been part of the decision on how to earn and spend Imo State resources.''
But reacting to the allegation, the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Acho Ihim, dismissed the accusation, maintaining that the House through its various committees and organs had extended such opportunity to various groups to contribute to the budget debate.
He advised the groups to synergize with the Assembly and contribute to the budget processes unhindered, adding that the groups should avail themselves to the sessions and make their inputs.
According to him, the year 2017 appropriation bill would soon be passed. ''By the time we wait for traders and so on to contribute in the budget, it would be delayed and might stay up to six years before passage,” he stated.