The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has presented a budget proposal of N177.601bn to the Edo State House of Assembly for the 2020 fiscal year, representing a 3.34 percent decrease compared to the 2019 budget.
The budget comprises N85.539 billion for Recurrent and N92.062 billion for Capital expenditure, based on a $55 per barrel bench mark for crude oil and average daily production of 1.8m barrels per day as well as an increase in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), as a result of his administration’s reforms in revenue collection.
Top on the priority of the budget estimate christened ‘Budget of Consolidation’ are workers welfare, education, infrastructure, health, industrialisation, sports, security, pension and gratuities.
The governor specifically earmarked N34bn for workers welfare, representing 31 percent increase in allocations for personnel cost, due to the government’s commitment to implementing the new minimum wage and building capacity of actors within government bureaucracy.
Others are Security Trust Fund, N2 billion; Pension and Gratuities, N14 billion; Contribution to the State Health Insurance Scheme, N1 billion; Primary Health Care Reform, N1 billion; the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme, N8 billion; Constituency Development Programme, N6 billion; National Sports Festival, N3 billion; and the Industrial Park, which will gulp N3 billion.
He said, “There is a 60 percent increase in allocation to the consolidated revenue fund charges. This enables the payment of monthly pensions and gratuities. It also covers the government’s monthly remittance to Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) for current employees under the Contributory Pension Scheme. Edo State is ranked by the pension commission as one of the few states that is up to date with remittances to PFAs for its workers.
“In 2020, we will be hosting the National Sports Festival, which would assemble over 20,000 athletes across the country in the state for the festival. This is the first time the state is hosting the event. We have also been designated as one of the likely hosts for the U-20 Women World Cup next year.
“The Constituency Development Programme is to be implemented by the State House of Assembly and the Ward Development Committee. They are to harmonise efforts to effectively meet the most felt needs in the communities across the state.”
On the implementation of the Edo State Health Insurance Scheme, he said, “With the launch of the Edo State Health Insurance Scheme, the government is committing N1 billion as its contribution to the scheme, while we expect workers across all sectors to sign up to the laudable initiative, which enhances their access to quality healthcare services.”
Governor Obaseki, who predicted a positive outlook in 2020, said the budget will advance his administration’s reforms to build a total society in Edo and consolidate on successes of the last three years.
“The outlook for 2020 is quite positive, on account of improved rating of the country by the World Bank on the Ease of Doing Business index and the expected early passage of the 2020 budget. All these are expected to spur investor confidence, among other positives. We expect stable oil prices and sustained crude oil production volumes, as Federal Government deepens reforms through a mix of Fiscal and Monetary policies to engender growth and development.
“With the state replete with evidence of efforts at enhancing social welfare of our people, improving governance, and boosting economic development, we are committed to actualising the aspirations of our people to live in a just, fair, productive and progressive state.”
According to the governor, the 2020 budget is a statement of resolve to deepen socio-economic development and consolidate on the march for a truly productive and progressive state.
Obaseki noted, “While the stellar records of our stewardship in the last three years have left many of our peers in disbelief as to how we were able to achieve such laudable strides in the face of dire socio-economic and political challenges, we want to state unequivocally that we are marching on and are more determined than ever to deliver on our promise to industrialise and sanitise the state. This budget shows how we intend to demonstrate this resolve.
“Hence, one of our key priorities in the proposed 2020 capital expenditure framework is to strengthen capacity to meet up with the obligations to all actors of development in the state by expertly allocating our resources to projects that will impact the greatest number of people.”
The governor who recently celebrated his third year in office, assured the people of Edo State that his government will continue to break new grounds despite the machinations of enemies of democracy in the state.
He said, “I am also not oblivious of the fact that despite the machinations of enemies of democracy, Edo State continues to break new grounds. We also want to express our profound appreciation to the great Edo people for their undaunting spirit and resolve to never again come under the control of an avaricious godfather who seems obsessed with the desire to keep many under servitude for the benefit of the very few. I am indeed grateful to the people for their sustained support and faith in our government.”
He further thanked the Assembly for their unwavering support to the Executive arm of government, which has provided the right atmosphere to continue to initiate and implement bold reforms to engender inclusive growth and development in the State.
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki (right) presenting the 2020 budget proposal to the Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye, at the Assembly Complex in Benin City.
By: Amb Michael Ayemere Jnr