Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday presented the state 2017 budget of N470 billion to the state House of Assembly.
The 2017 budget, christened “The Golden Jubilee budget, for accelerated development,” is N163 billion (about 53 per cent) higher than the N307 billion budgeted in 2016.
A breakdown of the 2017 budget indicates that the total projected capital expenditure is N329 billion representing 70 per cent, while N141 billion, representing 30 per cent, is proposed for recurrent expenditure.
Presenting the budget at the state House of Assembly, Wike said: “Rivers State will be 50 years old next year, and to herald this historic landmark, we have christened the 2017 budget ‘The Golden Jubilee budget for accelerated development.’
“This budget is premised on the need to consolidate on our achievements for 2016 and restore the State’s economy back to a sustained growth path and expand economic opportunities for all.
“This budget is underpinned by the following basic principles: First, enhancing the business environment, including tackling the security challenges for the private sector to grow, expand our tax revenue base, and drive our economy through the value chain into becoming one of the largest economies in West Africa
“Second, committing a greater proportion of available resources towards infrastructure development and public works to stimulate economic growth, create employment and reduce poverty.”
He said priority attention would be given to the following areas in 2017: security of lives and property; infrastructure development and maintenance; education, healthcare delivery, and empowerment.
In the 2017 budget, he said the sum of N77, 409,275,000.00, representing nearly 40 per cent of total capital expenditure was allocated to the Ministry of Works to accelerate the development and expansion of infrastructure throughout the state in 2017.
The governor noted that N30 billion was allocated to the Ministry of Education for 2017 to invest in providing educational infrastructure and improving the quality of education in the state.
The health sector got N27 billion, while that of Women and Youth Development was allocated N1billion for empowerment programmes. Another N12 billion is spread across the budget for women empowerment.
The governor said: “As we have often stated, the days of wasting scarce public resources on frivolities or unviable social and economic programmes are over for good.
“We have demonstrated in the last 17 months that focusing on real priorities not only delivers progress but also enables us to do more with less, and we will not deviate from this position in 2017.
“Furthermore, we shall continue to encourage, support and attract private-sector investments, both local and foreign, in the diverse sectors of our economy to create well-paying jobs, reduce poverty and improve the socio-economic conditions of our people.”
On financing of the budget, the governor said the 2017 budget would be funded with revenue receipts from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), the 13 per cent derivation proceeds, Value Added Tax (VAT), reimbursements, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and domestic credits.
He added: “We are projecting an aggregate sum of N220 billion from FAAC, distributed as follows: N23 billion from Statutory Allocation. N102 billion from 13 per cent mineral derivation fund, N16.6 billion from VAT, N8 billion exchange gain, N70 billion for Paris Club and other reimbursements, as well as N400 million from capital receipts.
“We are also projecting to generate an aggregate sum of N168.9 billion from IGR.”
Explaining the drive of the 2017 budget, Wike said: “In terms of sectoral allocation, the projections show that N14.160 billion is allocated to the administrative sector; N115.245 billion is allocated to the economic sector, N125.630 billion is allocated to the social sector, while N3.050 billion is allocated to the Law and Justice sector; and N70.915 billion is allocated to special heads.
“The unprecedented increase in the capital expenditure, once again, underscores our commitment to direct substantial resources to the critical growth sectors of our economy, including addressing infrastructure gaps to accelerate economic growth, secure the state and improve the wellbeing of our people.”
In his response, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Dabo Adams, said the governor ,by the 2017 budget, has proven that he is committed to the development of the state.
He commended the governor for ensuring that the budget covers all sectors of needs in the state.