Ortom Proposes Budget of N132.5bn for 2021

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George Okoh in Makurdi

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday proposed N132.5 billion for the 2021 fiscal year.

The governor also presented to the state House of Assembly, a supplementary Appropriation Bill of N20billion for the 2020 fiscal year.

On the budget christened: ‘2021 Budget of Resilience’, the governor said the revised estimate figure of the budget represents an increase of N23.7 billion which constitutes 18 per cent from the revised year 2020 revenue estimates.

According to him, “The budget estimate is based on some assumptions such as: that the benchmark of crude oil price remains $40 per barrel and oil production at 1.86 million barrels per day, and the revenue accruals will improve with respect to the statutory allocations and the Value Added Tax (VAT).

“Other assumptions are that the exchange rate of N379 to the dollar will remain stable; inflation rate remains 11.95 percent, and revenue sharing formula holds steady or improves with respect to the Statutory Allocation and VAT distribution to the states.”

He also assumed that there would be no new wave of lockdowns or restrictions of movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a broader and rapid reopening of all segments of the national economy as well as an end to the #EndSARS protests with no further threats to stability and predictability in the national and global political economy among other assumptions.

Ortom added that the proposed fiscal year of 2021 recurrent expenditure stands at N90.8 billion representing 68 per cent of the total budget; the sum of N49.3 billion for personnel cost, representing 37 per cent of the budget, and the sum of N41.4 billion representing 31 per cent for overhead costs.

The governor, who assured the state that his administration was exploring every opportunity to ensure that this budget works for the people in spite of all the constraints, said: “We are undertaking a debt sustainability analysis with the aim of restructuring some of our existing financial obligations, thereby reducing the monthly repayment burden on our revenues.”

Responding, the Speaker of the state Assembly, Hon. Titus Uba, who commended the governor for the early presentation of the 2021 budget, promised that Assembly members would give it accelerated attention to ensure its quick passage into law.