By Kelvin Ohoror
Delta Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, on Tuesday, presented the Appropriation Bill of N378.48 billion for 2021 to the state’s House of Assembly for consideration.
Christened “Budget of Recovery’’, the governor told the lawmakers that the Bill was made up of N207.52 billion for Capital Expenditure and N171.32 billion for Recurrent Expenditure.
He said that capital expenditure constituted 54.76 per cent of the Budget while 45.24 per cent represented recurrent expenditure, and explained that the allocations were consistent with his administration’s agenda of spending more on projects and programmes that would impact directly on socio-economic wellbeing of Deltans.
The 2021 budget is N96.2 billion or 34.05 per cent higher than the N282 billion revised approved budget of 2020.
The governor said that the 2021 budget proposals reinforced the state government’s commitment to road infrastructure, education, health and job and wealth creation programmes as the principal-drivers of the Stronger Delta agenda.
According to him, N113 billion, representing 89.94 per cent of the capital budget is allocated to the economic sector while N35 billion is allocated to the social sector; the administration sector got 10.93 billion and the regional sector, N42 billion.
“In 2021, we propose to spend N66.66 billion on Road Infrastructure; N6.79 billion on Health; Education will gulp N23.55 billion; Agriculture, N2.04 billion and Water Sector, N1.83 billion.
“Job and Wealth Creation Bureau will gulp N1 Billion and Youth Development, N1.25 billion. These key sectors are very essential in our 2021 budget,” Okowa said.
He said that budget, which was derived from the state’s 2021-2023 FSP/MTEF, was anchored on crude oil production benchmark of 1.86 mbpd, oil price of 40 dollars per barrel, exchange rate of N379 per dollar, National Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of three per cent and 11.95 national inflation rate
He disclosed that since 2015, his administration had progressively increased its annual spending on education infrastructure and would continue to scale up investments in the sector as the state continued with plans to establish nine new technical colleges to take off in the 2021/2022 academic session.
The governor pointed out that due to the impact of the COVID-19 on the global economy, government spending was severely hampered by the pandemic, and that Delta was no exception.
He, therefore, stated that “the proposed 2021 Budget for Delta is primarily focused on protecting and supporting our people in a COVID-19 environment, accelerating infrastructural renewal, incentivizing growth, enhancing job creation, engendering social inclusion and developing sustainably.
“Overall, the proposed 2021 Budget is predicated on inclusive economic growth that is sustainable and people-centred, with strengthening fiscal sustainability through increased efficiency in spending, improved revenue mobilization and debt sustainability.
“It also entails improving processes and systems in Public Financial Management, and Monitoring and Evaluation, to bolster better public sector service delivery.”
Welcoming the governor earlier to the House of Assembly’s chamber, the Speaker, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, had said that with the feat achieved by the current administration in five years, the House would continue to support the state government through passage of people-oriented and development-driven legislations.
“We are more than ready to cooperate with the Executive to develop a smart, sustainable and knowledge-based economy that will be the envy of all,” the speaker assured.
Motion to accept the Appropriation Bill for consideration was moved by the Majority Leader of the House, Mr Tim Owhefere and was seconded by the Minority Leader, Mr Innocent Anidi.
The lawmakers also approved a motion, slating the second reading of the Bill for Oct. 28, 2020.