By John Michael,
The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Wednesday presented N146 billion 2018 Appropriation Bill and Budget to the Edo State House of Assembly.
The budget was christened ‘the Budget of Growth’ with the assurance to consolidate on the infrastructural and socio-economic gains of the outgoing year 2017.
Obaseki commended the Speaker and members of the Edo State House of Assembly for their unprecedented support through their timely responses to requests for legislations and other forms of support to the executive arm of government.
According to the governor, “we have a budget size of N146, 659,830,444 billion, which is a 15% nominal increase over the 2017 budget. The 2018 budget is made up of N66,797,615,689 for Recurrent and N79,862,214,754 as Capital expenditure.”
He explained that the “revenue estimates for the budget are based on a $45 bench mark for crude oil and average daily production of 2.3 million barrels per day as well as an increase in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), as a result of reforms in revenue collection.
Obaseki assured that the 2018 budget will build on the recovery witnessed in 2017, and stressed that “We intend to revitalise the state economy by increasing capital spending, hence, we envisage a capital/recurrent expenditure ratio of (54%:46%) which highlights our vision to grow, with cash receipts capped at N120,099,830,443.52 to be sourced from statutory allocation, IGR and grants.”
Analysing the budget estimates, the governor said “a larger part of the 2018 budget will be devoted to the development of physical and social infrastructure across the state to improve the standard of living of Edo people.
“Our government will consolidate on the gains we have made in wooing investors to the state. Alaghodaro Investment Summit was a huge success and I must thank you Mr Speaker and Honourable members for your support for the laudable initiative.
“We have been bombarded by enquiries from all over the world after the investment summit as investors have come to accept that Edo is indeed ready for business. This budget is expected to drive growth and progress in all sectors of the state.”
The priority areas in the proposed 2018 capital expenditure framework, he explained “are social and physical infrastructure for which we have earmarked N51 billion.
“We will take advantage of the Dry Season to reconstruct several bad roads and construct new ones across the state to boost socio-economic activities. We have already commenced the procurement process for the roads through advertisements in major national newspapers.”
To boost employment generation across the state, Obaseki said that “N9.7billion will be spent on economic growth and employment enablers. Part of which will be targeted at the establishment of a Skills Development Agency responsible for coordinating all the State Government’s human capacity development initiatives targeted at youths, women and vulnerable groups.
“This will enhance the capacity of these individuals for direct employment and entrepreneurship. Our government will continue with the investment in the development of industrial parks across the state to turn around the fortunes of our economy as an industrial state, from the old narrative of a civil servants’ state.”
He noted that “the import of consolidating on reforms embarked on in the previous year is not lost on us. So, as much as we are committed to accommodating private sector investment inflows, we are equally committed to strengthening the state workforce, processes and institutions for optimal service delivery.
“To achieve this, N7.1bn has been set aside for direct intervention in institutional, law and order reforms which will cover investments in Judiciary, governance and security institutions.
We will continue the reforms in administration of state resources, improving the work environment, digitalising our processes and providing faster and easier access to relevant government information.
“We have set aside N6.3bn and N3.3bn respectively for the education and health sectors to further strengthen the gains made in ongoing basic education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) reforms. In the health sector, he assured that attention will be given to primary health care service delivery and health insurance for Edo people.
“To this end, the Edo State Primary Healthcare Board and the Edo State Health Insurance Commission are currently being setup. These Agencies will ensure we achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets for health and wellness across all communities in Edo State,” he said