Delta Governor and Vice-Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ifeanyi Okowa, on Thursday, presented an Appropriation Bill of N561.82 billion for 2023 to the state’s House of Assembly.
Christened “Budget of Seamless and Stable Transition”, the governor told the lawmakers that the Bill was made up of N326.6 billion for Capital Expenditure and N235.2 billion for Recurrent Expenditure.
He said that capital expenditure constituted 58 per cent of the Budget while 42 per cent represented recurrent expenditure, and announced that the allocations were targeted at completion of all ongoing projects and new projects in critical areas of needs.
The governor explained that N172 billion, representing 53 per cent of the capital budget, was allocated to the economic sector while N70.5 billion was allocated to the social sector; the administration sector got 13.34 billion and regional sector, N64.2 billion.
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“In 2023, we propose to spend N111.4 billion on Works, N5.9 billion for Urban Renewal – Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency, N8.3 billion and Warri-Uvwie and Environs Development Agency, N8 billion.
“Others include N12.4 billion on Health; Education, N42.6 billion; Trade and Investment, N8.6 billion; Sports N8.4 billion; Culture and Tourism, N2.7 billion and Housing, N10 billion.
“In order to continue tackling unemployment by creating jobs and wealth for our youths, the sum of N4.3 billion has been earmarked for our model entrepreneurship development programmes, notably STEP, YAGEP, RYSA, GEST, WESAP and ICT Youth Empowerment Programme,” he said.
Okowa disclosed that the budget, which was derived from the state’s 2023-2025 FSP/MTEF, was anchored on crude oil production benchmark of 1.69 million barrels per day, oil price of 70 dollars per barrel, exchange rate of N435.57 per dollar, National Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 3.75 per cent and 17.16 per cent national inflation rate.
“The economy faces headwinds from fiscal instability arising from huge debt overhang, runaway inflation, massive exchange rate depreciation, record-high subsidy costs, high interest rates, insecurity, and food crisis.
“Notwithstanding the persistently challenging external conditions, it is incumbent on the leadership to address the socio-economic needs of our people and ensure that their legitimate aspirations are realised.
“To successfully do that requires that we must be conscious of the decisions we make and guided by the obligation to carefully weigh every available option in the light of our fiscal realities vis-à-vis the demands of good governance,’’ he stated.
Welcoming the governor to the House of Assembly’s chamber earlier, the Speaker, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, lauded him for the giant strides recorded by his administration in infrastructure and human capital development since 2015.
Oborevwori, who is the Governorship Candidate of the PDP in the 2023 general elections, said that Okowa’s model entrepreneurship development programmes had rescued many youths and women from unemployment and underemployment.
He urged all Heads of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to buckle up for the defence of their budget proposals before the Standing Committees of the House.
Motion to accept the Appropriation Bill for consideration was later moved by the Majority Leader, Mr Ferguson Onwo and was seconded by the Minority Leader, Mr Innocent Anidi.
The lawmakers also approved a motion, slating the second reading of the Bill for Nov. 2, 2022 after earlier adopting the acceptance of the fiscal proposal as its first reading.