Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday signed the state’s 2017 Appropriation Bill totalling N294.5 billion, reiterating his administration’s unwavering commitment to improving the quality of life of the citizens of the state through infrastructural development vis-à-vis job and wealth creation.
The governor assented to the 2017 budget at a brief but impressive ceremony at the Exco Chambers of the Government House, Asaba, and witnessed by the leadership of the state legislature and members of the state executive council.
The 2017 estimates are made up of N151.909 billion or 56.0 per cent of total recurrent expenditure estimates and N119.001 or 43.94 per cent of the capital expenditure proposed for the year.
According to the governor, “The 2017 budget proposal shows a slight increase of N2.731billion or 1.02 per cent, compared to the 2016 approved budget of N268.179.
Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Monday Igbuya, was at the Government House for the signing of the Appropriation Bill – passed earlier by the House – accompanied by his Deputy, Hon. Friday Osanebi, the Clerk of the House, Mrs Lyna Ochukor and other principal officers of the House.
Receiving the document, Okowa said, “We have a budget of approximately N294 billion in the year 2017 and it is our hope that the finances coming from various sectors will improve in the course of this year so that we are able to meet with our obligations to our people” the governor said, disclosing, “the budget is made up of N158 billion in recurrent expenditure and N136 billion in capital expenditure.
“The recurrent expenditure is high because we have a heavy wage bill when it comes to the issue of payment of salary but, beyond that, the state is also spending N31 billion in the servicing of debts in the course of the year.”
He commended the Delta State, House of Assembly for its cooperation with the executive arm especially with regards to the speedy passage of Executive Bills, stating that government will intensify its drive to boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to meet its infrastructural drive.
The governor, nevertheless, thanked the youths of the state for their cooperation in ensuring peaceful environment for developmental projects in various communities across the state, saying that a lot was being done by his administration in attracting developmental projects to the creeks and the waterside communities.
Okowa said: “The state government will continue with its infrastructural development of the riverine areas this year; we are facing the realities on the ground because, the riverine areas needs infrastructure just like the upland.
“The more we put infrastructure in the riverine areas, the less there will be slum areas in the cities and towns; I want to assure you that it is possible to truly impact on these waterside communities and make them better places to inhabit and improve on the economy.”
Speaker Igbuya, while presenting the budget, informed the governor that the appropriation bill was presented to the House of Assembly in November, 2016 and passed through all due legislative procedures before its eventual passage by the House in February, 2017.
He assured the governor of the continuous cooperation of the House in making laws that will improve the lots of Deltans.
Okowa, while presenting this year’s budget estimates of N27.9 billion to the state legislature on November 10, 2016, urged government functionaries at all levels to make fiscal discipline their watchword his government intensified efforts ensure that the economic recession did not make nonsense of its lofty development blueprint.
Presenting the budget estimates christened ‘Budget of Fiscal Consolidation and Steady Progress’ in November 2016 to the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Igbuya, Okowa had noted that the 2017 estimates were duly prepared with “unalloyed impetus” despite the prevailing gloomy economic situation in the country.
The governor explained that the verve of the presentation, which was slightly above the January-September 2016 budget, was motivated by “unwavering confidence in our ability to navigate our way out of current economic challenges and move the economy of the state towards growth, inclusion, social cohesion and prosperity.”