TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has presented a budget proposal of N530,813,357,619.
The budget is christened: “Reassurance, profound impact for inclusive growth and shared prosperity”
The state government in 2019 budgeted N480 billion for recurrent and capital expenditure.
Presenting the 2020 budget proposal to the House of Assembly yesterday, Wike said that the budget has total recurrent expenditure of N156,659,436569.00, while capital expenditure is N374,153,920,743.00.
Governor Wike said: “The capital expenditure for 2020 is estimated to be N374, 153,920,743.00, which constitutes nearly 70 percent of the total budget”.
The governor stated that his administration was poised to fulfill every promise it made to our people.
He said: “Consequently, various expenditure portfolios have been allocated to all the relevant MDAs to fund capital expenditures and deliver physical and socio-economic infrastructure and development for our people.”
The highpoint of the recurrent expenditure was the allocation of funds for the new minimum wage and the recruitment of new employees.
“The sum of N70,227,748,472.32 is earmarked for salaries and wages; N8,000,000,000.00 for the new minimum wage, while N18,429,375,634.45 is for overheads”, he stated.
Governor Wike stated that the sum of N93,968,823,766.60 has been provided for the Ministry of Works to continue to fund the strategic road development programme for 2020.
He said that several roads were under construction, adding that the state government was committed to delivering some key roads by the end of 2020.
The governor added that the state government has allocated N26,087,783,322.35 for e Bureau for Special Projects to fund the completion of key ongoing projects.
The governor proposed the sum of N49.471 billion to fund the education sector for 2020.
The governor earmarked N40.4 billion to agriculture for the 2020 fiscal year, in a bid to strengthen the sector
To promote healthcare delivery to the State, Wike proposed N38.9 billion for the development of healthcare facilities and programmes in 2020.
He said the State Government will complete and deliver the Mother and Child hospital with capacity for 108 patients, as well as the Degema and Bori regional referral hospitals with combined capacities of over 200 beds.
He added that the State Government would continue with the construction of the remaining three regional hospitals at Okehi, Omoku and Ahoada and continue with the restructuring, upgrade and expansion of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital.
Governor Wike said his administration will improve on emergency medical services by procuring more ambulances to ensure effective and more responsive emergency and trauma management.
For youths and women, Governor Wike allocated a combined sum of N16 billion to the Ministries of Commerce and Industry, Empowerment and Employment Generation, Youths, Sports, and Women Affairs to initiate, coordinate and implement appropriate programmes for poverty eradication, job creation and empowerment for youths and women.
He said that the state expects the onward economic growth to continue in 2020 peaking around 3.5 percent to 3.7 percent with significant improvements in foreign and domestic investment inflows to the different sectors of the economy.
He said the growth in 2020 will come with associated effects on job creation and other economic opportunities for Rivers people.
He also gave an appraisal of the performance of the 2019 Budget of the State.
He said: “At as end of October 2019, total net revenue collected between January and October was N261,074,352,792.23 representing about 64.4 percent of total revenue estimates.
He said: “By and large, the development effort of our government across all indices of our New Vision blueprint is clearly evident everywhere you go even as we admit that there is still much more to do to realize our collective aspirations and fulfil our destiny as a united, peaceful and thriving society.
Governor Wike assured that the state government would work hard to mobilise resources to implement the 2020.
He said: “We will build and consolidate on the gains and progress of 2019 to deliver on the commitment of this budget for the benefit of our people.
“We will mobilize resources from the different sources and scale up investments in infrastructure, human capital development and the productive sectors of our economy to create jobs and improve the wellbeing of our people.
“And as our economy grows and creates opportunities, our people will benefit and enjoy a better standard of living”.
The governor expressed optimism that with the cooperation of members of the State House of Assembly, the goal of the 2020 budget would be actualized.
In his remarks, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, assured the governor and Rivers people that the Assembly would diligently consider and pass the budget to facilitate the continued development of the state.
He said budget is critical to the development process and commended Wike for his commitment to the development of state.
He further commended the governor for prioritising capital expenditure, saying that the Assembly had passed the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for the development of the State.
He said that the executive/legislative relationship was not about confrontation, but about cooperation and development.
Ibani assured the governor of support of the State Assembly for the development of Rivers.