Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, on Wednesday, presented a budget proposal of N367,095,083,451.00 for the 2019 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly for consideration and subsequent passage.
The 2019 budget size shows an increase of N59 billion on the 2018 budget of N308 billion.
Christened ‘Budget of Sustainable Growth’, the 2019 budget estimates consists of recurrent expenditure of N157 billion representing 42.79% and capital expenditure of N209.9 billion representing 57.21%.
Briefing the House during plenary, Okowa said road development and education are top on the priority list of the state government for the 2019 fiscal year.
The governor earmarked N79.6 billion for road infrastructure and N26.8 billion for education with an additional N2.5 billion for the purpose of meeting counterpart funding in the education sector in 2019.
Other areas of priority under economy sector include job creation, N1.1 billion; agriculture, N2.9 billion; sports development, N3.9 billion; water resources, N1.6 billion; and health, N8.6 billion.
To finance the budget, Okowa said a total of N73.4 billion (20%) is expected to be sourced as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) while N217.8 billion (59.36%) is expected to come in as statutory allocation including mineral revenue derivation.
Other sources of funding, according to him, include Value Added Tax (VAT), N13 billion (3.56%) and other capital receipts, N62.7 billion representing (17.09%).
Giving a breakdown of the proposed recurrent expenditure, Okowa said N65.7 billion (41.8%) will be spent as personnel costs while overhead costs will gulp N55.2 billion (35.2%), just as he proposed a total of N36.1 billion (23%) as consolidated revenue fund charges and social benefits.
On the performance of the 2018 budget size of N308 billion, Okowa said from January to June this year, a total of N66.5 billion has been spent on recurrent items against the proportionate approved budget of N73.7 billion representing performance of 90.4%.
He said capital expenditure performance was 47.8% as the state government spent N38.6 billion as against the proportionate budget figure of N80.8 billion.
The governor said the 2018 fiscal year witnessed a significant improvement in the state’s revenue receipts, which he hoped would be sustained in 2019.
“We are poised to consolidate our successes and achievements and institutionalise the policies and practices that made them possible.
“Despite the fluctuating fortunes of the economy in the last three and half years, I humbly note that our state has continued to forge ahead.
“Workers are paid regularly, thousands of previously unemployed youths are gainfully employed, and many of our people now enjoy better facilities in terms of roads, water, education and health.
“Agriculture has received a strong boost with many cluster farms springing up in different parts of the state, and even more importantly, our people remain committed to peace and harmonious living.
“Going forward, we shall build on this stable growth to position Delta State as a dynamic economy for the future. Indeed, a stronger Delta beckons,” Okowa stated.