Despite the economic down turn in the country, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has earmarked the sum of one hundred and nineteen billion, one million naira (N119.001bn) for capital expenditure for the 2017 fiscal year with road infrastructure billed to gulp the sum of N35 billion.
According to Governor Okowa, though, paucity of funds hampered the provision of infrastructure in the implementation of the 2016 budget, “in the first year of our administration, we constructed and completed 55 road projects covering over 148 kilometres (including 113 kilometres of concrete-lined drains) at a total cost of N27.2 billion.
Between June and now, a further N2b has been committed to the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation and completion of 29 roads across the State. We fully intend to sustain this momentum in the coming year.”
The governor made the disclosure on 10/11/16 in Asaba while presenting a budgetary proposal of two hundred and seventy billion, nine hundred and ten million naira (N270.910bn) christened “Budget of Fiscal Consolidation and Steady Progress,” to the Delta State House of Assembly for 2017 fiscal year.
According to him, “a total sum of N35.188 billion is allocated to road infrastructure in the 2017 fiscal year and because, “technical and vocational education is at the core of our educational policy, which emphasises skills acquisition as against certificate acquisition, the sum of N900 million is earmarked to strengthen Vocational and Technical Education in the State during the 2017 fiscal year.”
“As contained in the 2016 budget, we intend to establish a Teacher Professional Development Centre aimed at updating and upgrading the skill set of our teachers by providing systematic and coordinated capacity building for them; the Centre will also coordinate teacher’s professional registration, licensing as well as offer continuous professional development programmes and the sum of N400 million is proposed for the Centre in the 2017 budget,” the governor said, reiterating, “a total sum of N12 billion is allocated to the education sub-sector for capital projects in 2017.”
While stating that “the proposed capital expenditure estimates for 2017 is one hundred and nineteen billion, one million naira (N119.001bn) and the proposal is four billion, one hundred and fourteen million naira (N4.114bn) or 3.58 per cent higher than the 2016 capital budget of one hundred and fourteen billion, eight hundred and eighty-six million naira (N114.886bn),” Governor Okowa said, disclosing that the sum of N6.3 billion was allocated for the health sector as capital expenditure.
The sum of N1.3 billion was budgeted for Job Creation scheme, agriculture, N535 million, Finance and Investment, N1.1 billion, Environment and Urban Renewal (N1.2 billion), and for general administration, the governor said, “this administration is committed to the application of the rule of law; in this regard, the state’s Justice System will continue to receive maximum attention in the delivery of justice to our people; we shall continue with the development of our courts and offices including residential quarters for our judges throughout the State and for these, the sums of N400million and N174million have been proposed for the High Court of Justice and Customary Court of Appeal, respectively, during the 2017 fiscal year.”
“The construction of a befitting State Civil Service Secretariat Complex will commence in 2017. Government also intends to complete the on-going construction of the Office of the Head of Service Complex; no doubt, the construction of a new State Secretariat Complex and the office of the Head of Service will not only save costs for the government in the long term, but also enhance better coordination and efficiency of government operations across the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, so, the sum of N1 billion has been earmarked for the Secretariat Complex, while N100 million is provided for the Office of the Head of Service in the proposed capital budget of the 2017 fiscal year,” he stated, reiterating, “in 2017, we hope to extend our social safety net through the provision of N1.2 billion for the State’s Social Security programme which will cover agro-business, skill acquisition or outright disbursement of cash to persons in dire conditions.”
Governor Okowa used the occasion to state that the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) “in line with the funding prescription of the law setting up the Commission, the sum of N28billion, representing 50 per cent of projected derivation revenue receipts from oil accruable to Delta State is set aside for DESOPADEC in the 2017 fiscal year.”
“It is our hope that with the renewed engagement of all stakeholders by the Federal Government, and our willingness and determination to follow through with peace process, the country and our State will experience a better 2017, devoid of the interruptions and disruptions that characterised the outgoing year because, in this 2017 Budget of Fiscal Consolidation and Steady Progress, we shall continue to cut unnecessary waste and keep a tight lid on Government spending; our efforts to boost Internally Generated Revenue will be matched with zero tolerance for tax evasion and crackdown on corruption in tax administration and collection,” the governor said, adding, “we cannot afford to become complacent, therefore, I enjoin all of us to brace up for the work ahead, we must shun wrong choices and actions that could turn back the hands of the clock and derail our economic agenda because, our future and that of the next generation depend on it.”.