Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom on Thursday proposed to spend a total sum of N132.5 billion in the 2021 fiscal year.
The Governor also presented to the state House of Assembly, a supplementary Appropriation bill of N20billion for the 2020 fiscal year.
Christened “2021 Budget of Resilience,” the Governor noted that the revised estimate figure of the budget represents an increase of N23.7 billion which constitutes 18 per cent from the revised year 2020 revenue estimates.
According to the Governor, the budget estimate is based on some assumptions such as; that the benchmark of crude oil price remains $40 per barrel and oil production at 1.86 million barrels per day and that the revenue accruals will improve with respect to the statutory allocations and the Value Added Tax (VAT)
Other assumptions are that the exchange rate of N379 to the dollar will remain stable; inflation rate remains 11.95% and revenue sharing formula holds steady or improves with respect to the Statutory Allocation and Value Added Tax (VAT) distribution to the States.
He also assumed that there would be no new wave of lockdowns or restrictions of movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a broader and rapid reopening of all segments of the national economy as well as an end to the #EndSARS protests with no further threats to stability and predictability in the national and global political economy among other assumptions.
Ortom explained that the proposed the fiscal year 2021 Recurrent Expenditure stands at N90.8 billion representing 68 per cent of the total budget, made up of the sum of N49.3 billion for Personnel cost, representing 37 per cent of the budget, and the sum of N41.4 billion representing 31 per cent for Overhead costs.
The Governor who assured that his administration is exploring every opportunity to ensure that this budget works for the people in spite of all the constraints, said, “we are undertaking a debt sustainability analysis with the aim of restructuring some of our existing financial obligations and thereby reducing the monthly repayment burden on our revenues.
Responding, Speaker of the Assembly, Titus Una who commended the Governor for the early presentation of the 2021 budget, promised that members would give it accelerated attention to ensure its quick passage into law.