Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has presented a N448,660,773,476 billion Budget for the 2021 fiscal year to the state’s House of Assembly for consideration and approval.
The proposed 2021 budget christened, “Budget of Recovery and Consolidation”, is made up of N305, 894, 284.061 for Capital Expenditure, while N142,776,489,415 is earmarked for Recurrent Expenditure.
Wike, while presenting the Budget to lawmakers at the State House of Assembly in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, said the N448,660,773,476 budget for the 2021 fiscal year, represented more than 20% increase over the 2020 Revised Budget of N300billion.
He said the capital expenditure, representing 68.18% of the total budget size, constituted as follows: Administrative sector N 87, 790,330,011.37; Economic sector N 105,077,364,248,.81; Law and Justice N1,742,996,000.00; Social sector – N 132, 656,033,322.35 and Deductions/Loan repayments N38,000,000,000.00.
The governor explained that the capital budget would be deployed to advance economic growth and social progress by targeting and prioritizing investments.
He said N82,957,295,248.81 had been earmarked for the provision of infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and completion of flyover projects at Okoro-Nu-Odo, Rumuola, Rumuogba, and Port Harcourt GRA junction.
“We will also deliver the Ogoni – Andoni – Opobo unity road, the Eastern bypass dualization, 6th and 7th flyover projects and the Wakama road as well as all other ongoing rural roads in our communities and local government areas across the State,” he added.
The governor stated that over N6 billion had been provided in the 2021 budget to stimulate economic growth through investments in commerce, culture and tourism, mineral resource development as well as address environmental challenges to improve the quality of life of all residents.
Similarly, he said N13,861,407,451.97 had been provided to fund various social and economic investment schemes to support the development of small and medium scale businesses as part of efforts to create jobs and reduce poverty.
The governor noted that economic challenges of the COVD-19 pandemic clearly exposed the state’s vulnerability to food insecurity, hence, N16,107,080,000.00 would be spent on targeted investments in the agriculture value chain in a bid to create employment and enhance collective food security of the state.
The governor said his administration had decided to prioritize education in the 2021 budget with the provision of N30,000,000,00 to boost infrastructure, enhance access and retention rates and improve educational outcomes in schools throughout the state.
Wike hinted that the state government had provided N25,111,728,000.00 for health care services for the 2021 fiscal year. According to him, government will focus on completing the four zonal referral hospitals at Ahoada, Bori, Degema, Okehi and Omoku, which are all at advanced stages of completion.
Wike explained that the 2021 budget would also prioritize security and sustain the existing efforts in combating insecurity and keeping residents safe and secure.
He stated that the Recurrent Expenditure of N142,776,489,415 represents 31.82 per cent of the 2021 budget. Out of this sum, he said, N76,198,906,179 was for personnel costs; N18,863,016,430 for overheads and N47,704,566,804 for grants and transfers to the consolidated revenue charges.
He said, “From inception, this administration has prioritized the payment of salaries and pensions and I wish to assure our workers, including the proposed five thousand new enlistments, that they will receive their salaries as when due in 2021. Ministries, Departments and Agencies are also assured of prompt release of overheads to enable them run effectively and deliver services to the people.”
The governor explained that Nigeria was currently in its second recession in five years with headline inflation at 14 per cent.