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2020: Rivers Budget Of “Reassurance, Profound Impact For Inclusive Growth And Shared Prosperity”

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike on Tuesday,  presented a budget proposal of N530,813,357,619.00 for the 2020 fiscal year to the State House of Assembly for consideration and passage.

The 2020 Budget of Rivers State is christened: Budget of “Reassurance, profound impact for inclusive growth and shared prosperity”. The Rivers State Government in 2019 budgeted N480billion for recurrent and capital expenditure.

Presenting the Budget Proposal, Governor Wike said the budget has a 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% of the total budget. The summary of sectoral allocations of the capital expenditure are as follows:

·Administrative sector: -15, 061,008,000.00

·Economic sector;- 136, 444,523,766.60

.Law and Justice:- 2, 400,000,000.00

·Social sector – 138, 558,553,322.35

·Special Head:-57, 367,124,462.05

·Loan repayments –    24,322,731,192.00

“ The substantial increase in capital over recurrent expenditure, once again reflects and underscores our commitment to direct more resources to the growth and productive sectors of our economy. This Administration is poised to fulfill every promise it made to our people. 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 is 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. Also, N5,000,000,000.00 is set aside for new recruitments, N3,000,000,000.00 as counterpart fund for pensions, N900,000,000.00 for death benefits and N33,176,728,931.33 as monthly pensions and gratuities. Government has also provided over N400,000,000.00 as counterpart contributions for donor programmes”, he said.

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 are under construction, but the State Government is committed to delivering some key roads by the end of 2020.

The roads include:

· Kira – Sakpenwa – Bori – Kono road linking Gokana Tai, and Khana Local Government Areas;

·Andoni – Opobo Unity road linking Opobo/Nkoro and Andoni Local Government Areas

· Abonnema Ring Road in Akuku Toru Local Government Area

· Isiokpo internal roads in Ikwerre Local Government Area

·Rumuekini – Aluu road linking Obio/Akpor and Ikwerre Local Government Area

·Rumuepirikom internal roads in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area

· Rumuakunde and Isiodu roads in Emohua Local Government Area;

· Akaer Base road, Rumuolumeni in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area

·Expansion of Nzimiro, Herbert Macaulay, Amassoma and other sundry streets within Amadi Flats, old GRA, Port Harcourt

·  Eteo – Sime – Nonwa – Kira road linking Tai and Eleme Local; Government Areas;

· Eleme – Afam road linikng Eleme and Oyigbo Local “Government Areas;

· Rumuji – Ibaa – obele – isiokpo road;

·Omoku – Egbema road dualization in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area;

·Ula Ehuda – Odioku – Anwunugboko – Ubeta – Ihuechi – Odiereke road;

·Omoku-Aligwu-Kreigani-Oduoboburu road;

· Odieku community internal roads in Ahoada West Local Government Area;

·Abuloma/Fimie/Ozuboko and AmadiAma Community road in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area;

·Bolo community internal roads in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area;

·Umuogba – Umuokpurukpu – Umueke – UmunjuUmuelechi – Eberi roundabout link road in Omuma Local Government Area;

· Rebisi Flyover in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area;

· Okoro-Nu-odu Flyover bridge at Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;

·Rumubiakani Flyover at Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;

· Expansion of Ikwerre road from Education Bus stop to Igwuruta sections spanning Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor and Ikwerrre Local Government Areas; and

·Phase one of the Trans-Kalabari road network.

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 .

He noted that the sum of N3,000,000,000.00 has been allocated to the Ministry of Transport to complete the Bonny/Bile/Nembe jetty and embark on other key projects, including rehabilitating of bus stops to advance the transport sector in the State.

The Governor proposed the sum of N49.471 billion to fund the education sector for 2020.

He said: “ This sum represents 20% of the total budget and is the highest ever budgetary allocation to education, reflecting the level of our commitment to investing in the future of our children.

“In 2020, we will continue to ensure the systematic rehabilitation, upgrade and transformation of our primary, secondary and tertiary institutions and build new ones where the population demands to deliver a more conducive learning environment across schools in Rivers State. For basic education, we will promptly access the contributory grant from the Federal Government and deploy same to improve access, standards and quality. We will also continue to improve access to ICT infrastructure, employ more teachers to further reduce the teacher/learners’ ratio, especially in English Language, Mathematics, Science and technology and ensure the training and retraining of teachers to deliver measurable results and outstanding outcomes in our primary and secondary schools.”

The Governor said that the following schools would be upgraded in 2020:

°Enitonia High School, Port Harcourt in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area;

·Government Secondary School, Ogu in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area;

·Community Secondary School, Rumuolumeni in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;

·Community Secondary School, Rumuepirikom in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;

·Bonny National Grammar School, Bonny in Bonny Local Government Area,

·Government Secondary School, Okarki in Ahoada West Local Government Area,

·Western Ahoada Central High School, Ahoada in Ahoada East Local Government Area,

·Government Secondary School, Abua in Abua/Odual Local Government Area,

·Government Secondary Schoo, Okporowo -Ogbakiri, Emohua Local Government Area

·Government Secondary School, Obuama in Degema Local Government Area;

·Community Secondary School, Omuanwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area;

· Model Secondary School Bakana in Degema Local Government Area; and

·Model Secondary School, Tombia in Degema Local Government Area.

In a bid to strengthen the agricultural sector, Governor Wike earmarked N40,400,000.00 billion to the sector for the 2020 fiscal year.

Specifically, the Rivers State Government will:

(i) invest and support the commercial production of cash and other crops to which we have relative advantages, such as cassava, palm oil, yam, plantain, banana, rice and vegetables for both domestic and export markets;

 (ii) revive the school-to-land programme and engage over 10,000 youths in commercial agriculture;

 (iii) establish farmer input support programme to provide farming inputs to farmers across the State;

 (iv) train and build the capacity of Rivers State farmers to engage in productive and profitable commercial agriculture, including farming in crops, poultry, piggery, and fisheries;

 (v) complete the Cassava Processing Plant at Afam in Oyigbo Local Government Area.

To promote healthcare delivery to Rivers State, Governor Wike proposed N38,900,0healthcare 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 will  continue with the construction of the remaining 3 regional hospitals at Okehi, Omoku and Ahoada to advanced stages;

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. The objective is to create not less than five hundred thousand jobs for our youths in 2020.

The Governor said that the State expects the onward economic growth to continue in 2020 peaking around 3.5% to 3.7% 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 said:  ”Given therefore the fundamentals of our economy, which has remained sustainable with a steady growth rate since 2017, it is relatively safe to conclude that the economic outlook of our State for 2020 remains positive.”

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% of total revenue estimates.

“Further breakdown shows that only N37,102,734,345.42 was collected as FAAC receipts; N79,794,256,970.19 as 13% Oil Mineral Fund, N90,923,318,238.78 as taxes, and 14,666,472,353.79 as Value Added Tax. Also, N600,000,000.00 was received as Paris Club Refund, N25,000,000,000.00 as local credits, while others, including exchange gain, forex equalization and excess bank charges amounted to N7,496,428,837.31

It is obvious from these figures that the 2019 budget under performed by about 36% on the revenue side. However, contributions from internally generated revenue is expected to peak at a much higher rate than what was projected for the year.”

Governor Wike said that over the last four years, the development successes of his Administration are visible across the State.

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 fulfill our destiny as a united, peaceful and thriving society.

“It is on this optimistic premise that we have come to present the Rivers State Budgetary Estimates for fiscal year 2020 before the State House of Assembly for the consideration and passing into law. Mr. Speaker, the 2020 budget is about effective resource mobilization, responsible management of available finances, living within our means and delivering efficient public services to our people. “

Governor Wike assured that the Rivers State Government will 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.

“ Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I am confident that, working together, and with the support and prayers of our people, we can achieve the set targets of this budget.”

In his remarks, Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Ikuinyi Ibani assured the Rivers State Governor and Rivers people that the Assembly will diligently consider and pass the budget to facilitate the continued development of the state.

He said budget is critical to the development process. He commended Governor Wike for his commitment to the development of Rivers State. He commended the Rivers State Governor for prioritising capital expenditure.

The Speaker said that the Rivers State House of Assembly has passed the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for the development of the State.

He said that the Executive-Legislative relationship is not about confrontation, but about cooperation and development.  He assured the Governor of support of the State Assembly for the development of Rivers State.

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