Saturday, 9 May 2020

Again, Asuquo Ekpenyong, finance comm. under Fire by C'Riverian, see reason.

The Commissioner of Finance of Cross River State, Asuquo Ekpenyong Jr. as come under serious criticism for what Cross Riverians termed 'Financial Recklessness'

This happened when news broke out that the state along side11 other states in Nigeria failed to access a world Bank grant through the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) program due to the state's unready or unavailable financial records. 

Cross Riverians went online to call out the finance commissioner asking him to explain why the state missed out of such opportunity. 

Prominent amongst such post are 

Richie Romanus who said:

Yet we have a Commissioner of Finance with a rumoured Governorship ambition. Am sure he is busy pursuing the governorship aspiration rather than focusing on what he already has at hand. 

I think it is high time we leave Governor Ayade and talk about some of these people he has entrusted certain responsibilities on. They keep failing on a daily basis and because the bugs falls on the governor's table, we put all the blames on him.

Anyway, i think this should be a topic of serious discussion.

I dey come!!!

Another user identified as Simon Utsu 

So my state was among the 12 Nigerian states that recently missed out on a world bank grant due to fiscal recklessness/opaqueness. If our books were tidy & transparent, we would have gotten over a billion Naira for keeps. Akwa Ibom, Lagos and a number of the 12 states that missed out can afford to because they are rich(economically viable) states already but Cross River cant! We have a youthful commissioner who is more bothered about the state of his beards than the affairs of the state. His facial hair is either well groomed & oiled like rapper Rick Ross's or well trimmed like singer Joe's(like in this pic). Mr Sukky, look up and tell us why you've not made any impact in 5 years; stop staring at your macbook with so much seriousness- those who don't know would think you're visually analysing the 2020 budget but I can bet that you're either watching Money Heist or Spongebob square pants.

You need to tell us why Ayade shouldn't redeploy you as Commissioner for Enjoyment and Merriment because its only during weddings and events that I see you come to life!

Also Ayade number one critic and brother Agba Jalingo also wrote 

"Several stakeholders have been calling out the young Cross River State Finance Commissioner, Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr. after Cross River and eleven other States missed out of the World Bank-assisted States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) program.

Cross River and the other States failed to secure the SFTAS benefits because they failed to publish their annual appropriation law and audited financial statements virtually within the time frame stipulated by the SFTAS Program Operation Manual (POM).

The Federal Government had disbursed the sum of N43.42 billion (about $120.6 million) to 24 eligible states because of their achievements under SFTAS program.

There are Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) derived from the country's 22-point Fiscal Sustainability Plan and the 14 Open Government Partnership (OGP) commitments which aim to strengthen fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainable development across the 36 States of the federation.

The DLIs which eligible States recorded to receive the grants include achieving improved financial reporting and budget reliability; increased openness and citizens' engagement in the budget process; improved cash management, reduced revenue leakages through the implementation of Treasury Single Account (TSA), strengthened Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection; biometric registration and Bank Verification Number (BVN) used to reduce fraudulent activities around the payroll, all of which Cross River, under the Finance Commissioner Asuquo Ekpenyong, failed woefully to meet.

But that shouldn't come as a surprise for those who have been following events in the State since the inception of this administration. Such pundits should have been aware of the opaque and haphazard way our finances have been managed under Ayade and Asuquo and how we have been diverted from a tradition of established inclusive and transparent budgeting processes to copying and pasting bogus budget figures that really mean nothing. An unserious, cocky, know-it-all team that doesn't want the public to get a glimpse of their mismanagement are on the driving seat and the results are only commensurate with the quality of persons in office.

This same State Finance Commissioner, Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr. is so unperturbed about State matters that he had turned down appearing on a radio program; on Hit 95.9 FM Calabar to discuss the 2017 State Budget and opted for singing karaoke in his father's, Channels View Hotel that same evening. That is how unimportant he takes State affairs. So aloof, cocky and feeling that he doesn't owe us any explanations.

Mr. Ekpenyong had being invited to join the Special Adviser Budget, Mr. Moses Onoh; the then Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Honorable Eteng Jones; Development Expert, Pamela Braide and the Chief Economic Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade, Mr. Francis Ntamu on December 3, 2017 but "Did not return calls no IIT r acknowledge text messages to him". While all others turned up.

That same evening, the father's hotel, Channels View posted a short Instagram video of him and Inyanya singing Cool and the Gang's 1981 hit song "Get Down On It" and drinking whiskey in their karaoke night