The Abia State Government has refuted the allegation that it spent N927 million on refreshment and welfare packages for the governor’s office in the third quarter of 2023.
The allegation was based on a report that claimed that Governor Alex Otti had spent a huge amount on refreshment/meals, settlement of honorarium, allowances and welfare packages.
However, in a statement issued on Monday, the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Kazie Uko, said the report was false and misleading.
He said the actual amount spent on refreshment and meals for the entire state government in the period was N223,389,889.84, while the amount spent on welfare, which covers all ministries, departments and agencies, was N397,520,734.84.
He explained that the refreshment and meals expenditure included expenses for special events, such as retreats, conferences and related events, while the welfare expenditure dealt with issues of health, rehabilitation and public emergencies in line with the state fiscal, transparency, accountability and sustainability programme (SFTAS).
He said the report had erroneously attributed the figures to the governor’s office alone, instead of the whole state government.
The statement said, “Following the publication of the Q3 budget report of the Abia state government, and in line with the government’s commitment to transparency, good governance and fiscal discipline, it has become necessary to shed more light on the aforementioned report.
“This is even more so when there are certain distorted reports on social media, alleging that the Abia state government had spent close to one billion naira on feeding and welfare for the governor’s office, within the period under review.
“The accurate situation is that nothing in that region has been spent in the governor’s office.”
He also assured the public that the Otti administration will continue to uphold transparency in governance, as demonstrated in the publication of the budget performance report for two consecutive quarters.
He added, “The Abia state government, under the leadership of Dr. Alex C. Otti, OFR, will continue to uphold transparency in governance, as has been demonstrated in the publication of the budget performance report for two consecutive quarters.”