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Akwa Ibom assembly passes bill on financial autonomy

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The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has passed a bill for a law that allows it to manage funds accruing to it from the consolidated revenue fund of the state.

The law was passed after the third reading on Thursday, 12 October 2023.

The lead sponsor of the bill and Deputy Leader of the House, Otobong Bob, explained that the bill was in fulfilment of constitutional provisions as contained in Section 121(3), which states that “any amount standing in credit to the State House of Assembly shall be paid directly into the account of the House of Assembly”.

He said, “There is a need for the state legislature to have financial autonomy to enable it to discharge its legislative functions effectively”.

Also speaking in favour of the bill, Deputy Speaker of the House, KufreAbasi Edidem, and the Chief Whip, Effiong Johnson, described the bill as apt, saying that their colleagues in Lagos, Delta, Ebonyi, and a few other states were already enjoying financial autonomy.

The lawmakers said the new law would, among other things, ensure the availability of funds for legislative oversight functions, lawmaking, training, and re-training of assembly staff, including personal and legislative aides of the lawmakers, among others.

The Speaker of the Assembly, Udeme Otong, who presided over the plenary session, passed the bill with the directive for the clerk of the House, Mrs NsikakAbasi Orok, to forward it to Governor Umo Eno for assent.

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