Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday signed into law the state 2023 Appropriation Bill of N571.64 billion.
The budget, which is the eighth and last prepared by the Okowa administration, is made up of N235.5 billion for recurrent expenditure and N336.1billion as capital expenditure.
The governor also assented to nine other bills including, The Delta State Manufacturing and Use of Cotonou Boats Bill, 2022; Delta State Public Finance Management Bill, 2022; Delta State HIV/AIDs Anti-discrimination, Prevention and Protection Bill, 2022; Delta State Waterways Tax, Control and Licensing of Boats (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2022.
Others are Delta State Forfeiture of Property Bill, 2022; Delta State Maternal and Perinatal Deaths Surveillance and Response Bill, 2020; Delta State Passenger Welfare Scheme Repeal Bill, 2022; Delta State Administrative Procedure Bill, 2022 and the Delta State Transportation Data Management Bill, 2022.
Speaking after signing the different bills, Okowa reassured Deltans that his administration will not relent in its quest for implementation of capital projects provided for in the 2023 budget and strive to complete ongoing projects before May 29, 2023.
The governor said that the other bills signed into law would ultimately enhance socio-economic development of the state and thanked the legislators for their commitment to legislative duties.
“To have found time to work through these bills in spite of the electoral campaigns shows that you have stayed committed to our people who voted you into office.
“We will continue to remember you in the course of history because a lot has been done over the past seven and half years during which we have truly impacted on our people.
“We could have done better if we had a better security because we need a secured country for us to be able to impact more meaningfully to the people.
“But under the circumstances we have found ourselves, working with our people we have delivered the dividends of democracy to the best of our ability.
“Until May 28, 2023, we will remain functional and continue to impact on the lives of our people, including the youths to make them get entrepreneurial skills that will ultimately make them self-reliant,” Okowa said.
Presenting the bills earlier, Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Sherrif Oborevwori, said that the respective bills went through all legislative processes fully before being passed, thanking the governor and lawmakers for their support and cooperation over the years under his watch as Speaker.
Oborevwori said, “I wish to express our profound gratitude to you for the cordial working relationship and synergy existing between the House and the Executive.
“This has not only brought stability to the House but also prosperity to Deltans and development across the state.
“God has, indeed, been gracious to Delta State and the House of Assembly in particular. We have enjoyed peace and harmony which have resulted in an excellent working relationship among the members.
“As you remarked during the presentation of the 2023 budget on the floor of the House that this is the last budget you will be laying before the honourable House, this will also be the last budget I will be presenting to His Excellency, the Governor for assent, as a Speaker of the House of Assembly.”
The passage of the 2023 Appropriation Bill on December 7, 2023 followed the adoption of the report of the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation presented at plenary by its Chairman, Mrs. Erhiatake Ibori-Suenu.
She explained that the budget had an increase of about N9.78 billion as against the N561.82 billion proposal presented to the legislature by the governor on October 27, 2022.
The 2023 budget estimates, christened ‘Budget of Seamless and Stable Transition’, targeted the provision of sustained investment in new and ongoing projects, creation of employment, and business opportunities among others, the committee chairman observed.
Ibori-Suenu said, “The committee, after careful evaluation of the various heads and sub-heads, decided to return the budget estimate of N571.6 billion.”