Wike presents N530bn budget for 2020

• Earmarks N70.22-billion for new minimum wage, employment

Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on Tuesday, presented a proposal of five hundred and thirty billion, eight hundred and thirteen million, three hundred and fifty-seven thousand, six hundred and nineteen (N530,813,357,619.00) to the state House of Assembly for consideration and passage for the 2020 fiscal year.

The governor also earmarked a total of N70.27-billion for the payment of the minimum wage of thirty thousand Naira monthly and for employment in the state which rates as one of the highest in the country in unemployment.

The 2020 budget of Rivers State, christened: ”Budget of Reassurance, the profound impact for inclusive growth and shared prosperity” is about N50-billion higher than that of 2019 which was N480billion.

The budget is made up of Total Recurrent expenditure of N156.66 and, Capital expenditure of N374.15-billion.

Explaining the reasons behind the increase in the capital expenditure the governor said: “The substantial increase in capital over recurrent expenditure, once again reflects and underscores our commitment to direct more resources to the growth and productive sectors of our economy.

“This Administration is poised to fulfil every promise it made to our people. Consequently, various expenditure portfolios have been allocated to all the relevant MDAs to fund capital expenditures and deliver physical and socio-economic infrastructure and development for our people.”

A breakdown of the capital allocations is as follow

Administrative sector:               – 15, 061,008,000.00

Economic sector;                       – 136, 444,523,766.60

Law and Justice:                       –        2, 400,000,000.00

Social sector                             –         138, 558,553,322.35

Special Head:                          –        57, 367,124,462.05

Loan repayments                       –       24,322,731,192.00

The highpoint of the recurrent expenditure is the allocation of funds for the new minimum wage and the recruitment of new employees.

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“The sum of N70,227,748,472.32 is earmarked for salaries and wages; N8,000,000,000.00 for the new minimum wage, while N18,429,375,634.45 is for overheads.

“Also, N5-billion is set aside for new recruitments, N3-billion as counterpart fund for pensions, N900-million for death benefits and N33,176,728,931.33 as monthly pensions and gratuities. Government has also provided over N400,000,000.00 as counterpart contributions for donor programmes,” he said.

He said that the sum of N93,968,823,766.60 has been provided for the Ministry of Works to continue to fund the strategic road development programme for 2020.

He added that several roads are under construction, saying the state government was committed to delivering some key roads by the end of 2020.

The governor proposed the sum of N49.471 billion to fund the education sector for 2020 saying: “This sum represents 20% of the total budget and is the highest ever budgetary allocation to education, reflecting the level of our commitment to investing in the future of our children.

“In 2020, we will continue to ensure the systematic rehabilitation, upgrade and transformation of our primary, secondary and tertiary institutions and build new ones where the population demands to deliver a more conducive learning environment across schools in Rivers State.”

Wike earmarked  N40.4-billion in a bid to strengthen the agricultural sector through investment and support the commercial production of cash and other crops to which we have relative advantages, such as cassava, palm oil, yam, plantain, banana, rice and vegetables for both domestic and export markets; among others.

The governor said that the state expects the onward economic growth to continue in 2020 peaking around 3.5% to 3.7% with significant improvements in foreign and domestic investment inflows to the different sectors of the economy.

He expressed hope that the growth in 2020 will come with associated effects on job creation and other economic opportunities for Rivers people.

He said: “Given therefore the fundamentals of our economy, which has remained sustainable with a steady growth rate since 2017, it is relatively safe to conclude that the economic outlook of our State for 2020 remains positive.”

He also gave an appraisal of the performance of the 2019 Budget of the state, noting that from available figures that: “The 2019 budget underperformed by about 36% on the revenue side.  However, contributions from internally generated revenue are expected to peak at a much higher rate than what was projected for the year”.

The governor, however, said that over the last four years, the development successes of his administration are visible across the state.

He said: “By and large, the development effort of our government across all indices of our NEW VISION blueprint is clearly evident everywhere you go even as we admit that there is still much more to do to realize our collective aspirations and fulfil our destiny as a united, peaceful and thriving society.

“It is on this optimistic premise that we have come to present the Rivers State Budgetary Estimates for the fiscal year 2020 before the State House of Assembly for the consideration and passing into law. Mr Speaker, the 2020 budget is about effective resource mobilisation, responsible management of available finances, living within our means and delivering efficient public services to our people.”

In his remarks,  Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Ikuinyi Ibani assured the governor and the people that the assembly would diligently consider and pass the budget to facilitate the continued development of the state.

He said the budget is critical to the development process.  He, therefore, commended Governor Wike for his commitment to the development of Rivers State.

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