The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has described as stunning the admission of the Executive Chairman of Rivers State Internal Revenue Board, Mr. ThankGod Norteh, that he had no knowledge of the budget of Rivers State.
The APC said Mr. Norteh made the revelations as a guest on Rhythm FM current affairs live programme, Viewpoint, over the weekend in Port Harcourt. It noted that it was a confirmation that Governor Nyesom Wike was “operating a motor-park type of government where every rule of governance is observed only in breach.”
A press statement signed by Chris Finebone, State APC Publicity Secretary, stated: “The APC feels deeply saddened that the Internal Revenue Board Chairman admitted that he had no knowledge of the budget of Rivers State hence he could not state the overhead budget for running his office.”
The APC quoted the Internal Revenue Board Chairman as saying that his office overhead budget was “grossly inadequate’ thus confirming that the financial laws were not being followed by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The statement said: “For us, there is no better vote of no-confidence on the makeshift government Gov. Nyesom Wike is running in Rivers State than the startling revelation made by the RIRS boss howbeit unwittingly.”
“Mr. Norteh was unable to state the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) target of the State Internal Revenue Board he superintends over. That question would have been unnecessary if the State budget was available to the media and the public to see. This is indeed sad and has only left the APC and well-meaning Rivers people wondering why things have to get this bad for our dear Rivers State.”
The APC said that the response by Mr. Norteh further revealed that it was either that MDAs were poorly-funded that they were forced to retain their earnings to simply survive or the Gov. Wike was deliberately undermining the MDAs to serve his motives.
The statement said: “While the APC condemns this sad turn in the life of our dear State, we feel vindicated that Mr. Norteh confirmed the position of the APC that Wike’s de-marketing of Rivers State has resulted in businesses leaving the State in droves.”
The APC quoted Mr. Norteh as saying: “We have done well in the last six months in revenue generation in spite of the fact that more companies and businesses have left Rivers State in our time than before.”
According to the APC the “seemingly honest statement by the boss of the State Internal Revenue Board is obviously a damning indictment on the performance of the Wike administration. That such a confirmation is coming from a highly-placed official in the Wike administration is a clear confirmation of the views of the APC that, after two years, the Wike government has been unable to provide wholesome governance to the people.
All he has achieved is fooling the people with tokenism in form of some superficial mediocre projects without budgetary details deliberately to prevent a proper assessment of whether such projects have the right value for the people’s money.”
Amaka Agbu, Port Harcourt