- Highest allocation to education in 27 years
Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State Wednesday presented to the state House of Assembly the 2019 Appropriation Bill with recurrent and capital estimates totalling about N367.095 billion, assuring that his administration would remain focused in ensuring prudent management of resources for optimal discharge of its responsibilities to the people of the state through various development programmes.
Christened the “Budget of Sustainable Economic Growth”, Okowa said that the budget estimates for the 2019 fiscal year is made up of capital expenditure in the proposal amounting to the sum of N209, 999,054,198, which is 57.21 per cent of the total estimates, while the sum of N157, 096,029,253 or 42.79 per cent of the proposed budget is made up of recurrent expenditure.
Okowa was received into the chamber of the state legislature by the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Sheriff Obrevwori; Deputy Speaker, Hon. Friday Osanebi; Majority Leader, Hon. Tim Owefere, and majority of other members of the House, as well other officers of the assembly.
According to the governor, “the proposal for capital receipts for the 2018 budget has been increased from the sum of N48.7 billion in the 2018 budget to N62.7 billion, showing a variation of N14 billion.”
Explaining further on the expected revenue accruals for the 2019 fiscal year, including increased internal revenue generation, Okowa noted that, “with the sustenance of all the measures put in place to overhaul the revenue infrastructure, the internally generated revenue (IGR) for 2018 is expected to improve. The signs are obvious with a performance of 87 per cent in the first half of the current year. We shall continue to sustain and improve on the measures taken thus far which culminated in the increased revenue profile.
“While new sources of revenue are being explored, we shall also intensify enforcement of appropriate tax legislation. It is, therefore, our projection to generate the sum of N73.4bn as Internally Generated Revenue in 2019, representing 20.77 per cent of the total projected revenues for the year. IGR estimates for 2019 is higher than the 2018 approved estimates by N1.9 billion or 2.8 per cent.
“Using the forecast derived from the State’s Fiscal Strategy Paper as a guide, the sum of N217.8 billion or 61.5 per cent of projected total revenue for the 2019 fiscal year is expected to come from Statutory Allocation. This amount is more than the sum of N178.0 billion budgeted for the 2018 fiscal year by N39.8 billion or 22.3 per cent
“The increase is a function of the relative calm that has returned to the oil producing region and the improvement in the price of oil in the international market as well as the return of some oil majors back to full operation in the State.”
In the proposed budget, roads and infrastructure as well as the education and health sectors would gulp the highest shares, with the amount allocated to education being the largest allocation ever to the sector since the creation of Delta State 27 years ago.
Nevertheless, road infrastructure took the largest share of the budget estimates with sum of N79.6 billion while the Education Sector would gulp an unprecedented sum of N26.8 billion.
“Okowa said, “education remains a powerful tool to drive socio-economic development of any society. This underscores the reason this administration places high premium on the comprehensive development of the education sector and, in particular, Technical and Vocational Education. It is also our belief that every child should have unfettered access to basic education..
“To ensure we continue to access the UBE funds, the State Executive Council recently approved the release of ₦1,286,343,183.55 counterpart fund to enable us assess the 2017 UBEC fund which places it as one of the few States in the country to do so.”
While commending the level of conviviality between the State Executive body and Legislative Arm of government, Okowa noted the budget estimates for the 2019 fiscal year was an appreciable increase over those of the 2018 period, which totalled N308,888,558,898.
The state budget for 2018 comprises N147,273,989,898 recurrent expenditure, and the sum of N161,614,569,000 capital expenditure totalling N161,614,569,000.
The governor noted that projected estimates would enable his administration consolidate on the stream of successes and achievements of his administration, saying his government would remain focused and committed.
“Agriculture has received a strong boost with many cluster farms springing up in different parts of the State and, even more importantly, our people remain committed to peace and harmonious living. We shall build on this stable growth to position Delta State as a dynamic economy for the future; indeed, a stronger Delta beckons.
“Across board, the thrust of our human capital development policy is to build a knowledge economy, equip our people with the skill sets to create jobs and wealth, stimulate the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and enhance the business competitiveness of the State. The Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer, a Special Purpose Vehicle, was created with this goal in mind.
“By design and implementation, their two flagship programmes, Skills Training and Entrepreneurship programme (STEP) and Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP), have been very effective in turning unemployed youths between the ages of 18-35 into entrepreneurs, leaders and managers, with high levels of personal effectiveness. The Ministries of Agriculture, Women Affairs and Youth Development as well as the Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency have also been very effective in the training and empowerment of our people to create wealth and earn a decent living”.