By CrossRiverDaily Team:
For a genteel digest of this report, we strongly recommend that you read-up the previous report in this series titled: “An Expository On ‘3 Most Performed’ Youths (Across South, Central & North) In Gov Ayade’s First Term – PART I” whereof this “PART II” is just but a follow-up.
Having stated in “PART I” that we intend to bring to public appreciation three (3) young Cross Riverians who contributed immensely and outstandingly in His Excellency’s first tenure as a way of rewarding hardwork among the ‘youth-class’, we kick-off with the Southern District and the “Most Performed” appointee from the South, his citation and achievements, vis-a-vis the parameter(s) used for measuring his/her performance are all captured in this “PART II”.
AWARDEE: Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong
POST: Commissioner of Finance
Born on August 25th, Asuquo Ekpenyong attended Kings College, Lagos from where he proceeded to the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, graduating with a Bachelor degree (B.Sc.) in Economics in 2007 and capping it with a Masters degree (M.Sc.) in International Banking and Financial Services with distinction in 2008. Thereafter, he attended the prestigious Havard Business School in United States of America.
Upon his return, he joined the Faculty of Management Sciences at the University of Calabar as a lecturer in Department of Banking and Finance from 2010 the 2012.
Eager to bring his knowledge to bear in the expansion of the business horizon in the erstwhile “civil service” Cross River State, he started what today has become the biggest indigenous logistics services provider serving major industries in the South-South and South-East parts of the country including Larfage Africa Plc and Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals.
Concurrently, he served as the Managing Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria licensed Chamley Bureau de Change and the Director of Pearland Energy Limited. Also, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Ekondo Microfinance Bank between 2013 to 2015 and served on several other critical board committees including the Credit, Establishment, Audit, Finance and General Purposes Committees.
Asuquo Ekpenyong has attended several courses and holds qualifications obtained from Howard University Business School in Washington DC, United States of America and the University of Pretoria in South Africa, among others.
He was appointed the Commissioner of Finance by His Excellency, Senator (Prof) Ben Ayade, the governor of Cross River State in November 2015 and also saddled with the additional responsibility as Managing Director of Nigeria’s Premier Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort from 2016 to April 2017.
Asuquo Ekpenyong is a devout Christian who attributes all his achievements to the Grace of the Almighty God at work in his life.
- Biometric Capturing of Civil Servants in the State: At the inception of the administration in 2015 the focus of the government was to reduce the high wage bill of the state. The administration’s focus was not to terminate the duly employed but to verify its workforce & eliminate all ghost workers. In January 2016, the Ministry of Finance began conducting a verification and biometric exercise for both active state government workers and pensioners. The objective was to create savings for state government by eliminating ghost workers with a view of channelling the savings to developmental projects. This comprehensive six(6) months exercise which had the audit team traverse all 18 LGAs of Cross River State as well as Abuja & Lagos verifying both active & retired workers resulted in a reduction of the monthly wage/pension bill by approximately N174Million leading to an annual estimated savings of 2.08 billion naira.
- Designing and Implementation of Ministerial Single Account (MSA): A major part of the fiscal reform programme of the state government was the introduction of Ministerial Single Account (MSA) system. MSA is a public accounting system whereby all government collectibles and receivables are channelled through a single consolidated account. At the conclusion of this exercise the state government were able to mop up approximately 4.2 billion naira in idle funds and shutdown approximately 500 inefficiently operated bank accounts of MDAs. MSA allows the state government to appropriate funds to projects in order of priority.
- Establishment of Efficiency Units: Efficiency unit was established to reduce cost and make savings for the state government. The mandate of the Unit was to review government expenditure with a view of identifying areas where government can save cost and make savings. The Unit focuses on reviewing travelling expenses and bulk purchases, and make appropriate recommendation to the state government for implementation.
These three(3) major achievements of the State’s Ministry of Finance under Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong, in no doubt, outshone all the ministry’s feats in time past under previous commissioners.
As it always has been with media (public) awards, public opinion remains the only parameter and the same apply in this case at hand.
A few of His Excellency’s appointees from the Southern District were randomly picked and sampled to several persons and groups of persons for comparison.
The result at the end of the day saw Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong to be the favourite amongst all in terms of performance and best hand for future engagement especially in the field of finance and economy.
Congratulations, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong!