Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has presented the 2018 Appropriation Bill of N510 billion to the state House of Assembly for consideration and subsequent approval.
The 2018 budget of N510 billion is an increase of N40 billion (8.51 per cent) over the N470 billion budgeted in 2017.
Christened: ‘Budget of Consolidation, advancement and empowerment,’ Wike said the budget would consolidate and advance the state’s investments in infrastructure, education, healthcare, and security, as well as in growing the economy to create jobs and empower the people.
Presenting the budget proposal to the assembly yesterday, the governor said the proposed budget has N379, 997, 687, 404.00 as capital expenditure, while N132 billion would be for recurrent expenditure.
He said: “This gives a capital to recurrent expenditure ratio of 75 to 25 per cent respectively. The substantial increase in capital over recurrent expenditure, once again, underscores our commitment to direct substantial resources to the critical growth sectors of our economy.”
Wike said the 2018 budget would be funded from allocations from the federation Account: N40 billion; 13 per cent oil minerals fund: N120 billion; VAT: N6 billion, internally generated revenue: N132 billion; reimbursements: N70 billion; domestic/international credits N70 billion; and capital receipts N20 billion.
He stated that a total portfolio of N90 billion and N35 billion have been allocated to the Ministry of Works and the Special Projects Bureau respectively to fund the delivery of capital projects in the 2018 budget.
He said the administration was committed to the completion of key projects in different parts of the state, while some of the projects earmarked for delivery in 2018 include Bonny – Bile Waterside jetty; Mile one market, Phase 2; Reclamation works in Abalama in Asari Toru Local Government Area, Ogu town in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area, Bakana in Degema Local Government Area, and Ogbumnuabali in Port Harcourt Local Government Area; Constituency projects; Real Madrid Football Academy; Luxury living quarters for Judicial Officers from the State, among other projects; and the cinema and restaurant project in the Pleasure Park, among other projects.
The governor added: “We shall also start some new projects, including the Women Development Centre the new world-class international conference centre, and roads.”
On education, Wike said: “We are devoting N50 billion to fund the education sector for the 2018 fiscal year. This sum is N20 billion more than that of 2017. In addition, we have proposed a capital grant of N500 million to each of our tertiary institutions to bolster infrastructural development and improve quality.
“Apart from proposing the sum of N2 billion for the provision of scholarships for critical areas of the State’s manpower needs, we have also proposed to set aside another N2 billion to partner, encourage and support the development of private universities and improve access to tertiary education for Rivers indigenes in the state.”
Wike stated that his administration is providing the sum of N30 billion in 2018 to enhance all aspects of the healthcare delivery system in the state, including the provision of health infrastructure for health institutions, recruitment and training of medical doctors and other healthcare personnel, refurbishing and equipping primary healthcare centres, providing vaccines for routine immunisation against child killer diseases, as well as in carrying out education and sensitisation programmes on reproductive, maternal, neo-natal and child healthcare.
On security, he said the state government would continue to invest heavily in the security of lives and property through the funding of security agencies and provision of logistics for them to effectively secure the state.
He said the administration decided to renew and strengthen her partnership with the Church of God in the State by proposing to establish a Trust Fund for the Church to administer to its needs. The sum of N1 billion has been proposed under this budget for this purpose.
Wike said in the past two and a half years, the administration had demonstrated that it was committed to solving the problems it inherited and advance the overall wellbeing of the people.
He said: “For us, our State deserves meaningful development and we must, as a Government, continue to do our best to deliver to our people. That is why we are offering a realistic budget for 2018, which takes a balanced and pragmatic approach towards solving the developmental challenges of our State and take it to the next level of transformation.”
The governor had proposed a budget of N470 billion for 2017 which, he said, recorded about 74 per cent performance, a significant improvement over that of 2016.
In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr Ikunyi-Owaji Ibani, assured the people of the State that the state assembly would continue to support the executive to deliver the development of the state.
He said an analysis of the 2018 Budget shows that the Rivers State Governor would consolidate on development in different sectors of the state’s economy, adding that that the state House of Assembly would treat the budget expeditiously while following due process.
“Only a pathological fault finder will not see the good works of the Rivers State Governor. The governor has performed creditably well,” he said.