Gov. Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom, has assented to the 2024 appropriation estimate of N849.97 billion into law with a pledge to increase the revenue generation drive of the government.
Eno assented to the budget at an expanded Executive Council meeting held at Government House, Uyo, on Thursday.
The final budget size of N849.970 billion, signed into Law, was passed by the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly on Dec. 21, indicating an increase of N4.3 billion from the initial sum of N845.63 billion.
The governor stressed the need to pay greater attention to revenue generation in the 2024 fiscal year than spending.
“In signing this budget today, my priority will be on revenue drive. How do we get to bring in revenue? Because there is no point having a budget this big when the revenue is not commensurate,” he said.
“If you review what happened last year, we had the budget too and in previous years, but revenue is always the issue.
“So, while we sign this budget to show that we have approval, I think what will be most important for all of us is to make sure that we meet the revenue part of it, to help expenditures,” Eno said.
Eno said his administration was putting a lot of strategies in place to raise the state internally-generated revenue to take care of the budget.
He urged the Ministry of Finance, Internal Revenue Service, Ethical and Attitudinal Reorientation Commission (EARCOM) and other agencies to step up effort in mobilising revenue for easy funding of budgets.
“We have to do a lot by persuading the people. We have to let people know why they should pay taxes. We need to increase sensitisation on that.
“I believe if we put in place the necessary tools, we can get people to voluntarily and willingly pay their taxes and we also need to encourage them,” he said.
He commended the House of Assembly for their painstaking consideration of the bill and working in synergy with relevant departments of the Executive arm to ensure thoroughness and timely passage of the 2024 Akwa Ibom Budget.