… Wants increased funding for WADEP

By Mfonobong Ukpong

The Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Barr. Onofiok Luke has canvassed for a review of the state government’s sponsored free medical services being enjoyed by pregnant women and children under the ages of 5. Luke made the advocacy on Thursday in Uyo while declaring open a workshop on ‘gender response budgeting.

Explaining his reasons for the advocacy, Barr Luke noted that the review would go along way in ensuring that the good intention of government for the citizenry was not defeated, as it will enhance health care delivery in the state.

“I have advocated for a review of the free medical services for pregnant women and children under 5, so that we can have the expected outcome and maximum benefits. Recently, i have lost close people to cancer, hence I’m thinking about how we can improve on cervical and breast cancer checks together with the renovation of our hospitals and the implementation of the state Health Insurance bill which has been provided for in the 2018 budget proposal”.

While affirming the commitment of the state House of Assembly to gender responsive legislation, the Speaker who has always been on the forefront of advocacy for gender related issues, informed participants that he has asked the Chairman of the Appropriation and Finance Committee which is currently considering the 2018 budget of the state on the need to consider an increase in the budget for Women Agro-Entrepreneurship development programmes, WADEP, of the state government which is geared towards the empowerment of Akwa Ibom women in the area of agriculture and food production in order to ensure food sufficiency in the state.

“Under the women Agro-Enterprenurship development programme, WADEP, the sum of more than N230 million in 2017 and almost the same was appropriated in the 2018 budget proposal”.

“I have made my position known to the Committee Chairman for an increase for WADEP so that more Akwa Ibom women are empowered to continue to contribute to food sufficiency. I have also advocated for a review of the free medical services for pregnant women and children under 5″. At Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, we are currently engaging stakeholders, experts, interest groups and labour unions on the 2018 budget proposal”.
“One thing which has stood out our state Assembly is our effort at democratising the budgeting process through what has come to stay as participatory budgeting”

While thanking the organisers of the workshop, OXFAM and NDELBUMOG for selecting Akwa Ibom for the hosting the workshop, Speaker Luke expressed hope that the outcome of the workshop would proffer recommendations that will be helpful to the government in budgeting process for effective gender responsive fiscal planning.