Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki yesterday presented a N320.35 billion budget to the Edo State House of Assembly for the 2023 fiscal year, representing a 44.3 per cent increase from the N222 billion budgeted for the year 2022.
Obaseki, who presented the budget to the Assembly sitting at the Anthony Enahoro Assembly Complex in Benin City, said the budget was made up of N192 billion for capital and N127.5 billion for recurrent expenditure.
Guests present at the budget presentation included Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu; Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon. Osaigbovo Iyoha and Edo State Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa.
Others are Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare; Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Monday Osaigbovo; Commissioner for Business, Investment and Cooperative, Aishatu Braimoh and Commissioner for Youths and Gender Issues, Andrew Emwanta, among others.
According to the governor, the document, christened ‘Budget of Resilience and Transformation,’ was informed by the need to, “build a resilient and sustainable foundation for the reforms, initiatives and programmes that we have embarked on in the last six years.”
“Our strategic goal is to utilise manufacturing, technology, agriculture, arts, culture and entertainment as the catalyst to promote sustained investment across all sectors of the Edo economy,” he added.
Obaseki noted that the total projected revenue for 2023 was N300 billion, consisting of N144.26 billion statutory allocation, made up of Value Added Tax (VAT) of N41.2 billion; Capital receipts of 46.1 billion; IGR – N60.4 billion and N4 billion from grants, among others, adding that, “the balance of will be sourced from development financing and financial institutions.”
Obaseki further stated: “The revenue estimates for the budget is based on a $70 per barrel benchmark for crude oil and average daily production of 1.69 million barrels per day as well as an increase in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to N60.4 billion, owing to reforms in tax collection and land management activities.
“Our intention is to push for revenue and reforms in the built environment. We are committed to boosting capital spending this year. To this end, we expect a capital/recurrent expenditure ratio of 60.2 per cent to 39.8 percent respectively. This would reinvigorate the economy, providing the right impetus for the needed growth expected in the year.”
Receiving the 2023 budget proposal, Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Marcus Onobun, hailed the governor for his efforts at ensuring economic prosperity for the state, adding, “It is worthy to note that at the presentation of the year 2022 budget, you made certain commitments to the people of Edo in relation to infrastructural transformation, healthcare, education and economic development of the state.
“It is commendable that despite the looming global economic meltdown and other uncertainties, you were able to deliver set goals as outlined.
“On behalf of my colleagues, I applaud you for your sterling performance despite the odds. We applaud your visionary initiatives, leadership, passion, strategic innovation and dedication to our dear state and its people.
“As a House, we will hold ourselves to the highest standards of integrity in carrying out this constitutionally assigned duty of scrutinising and the consideration of this budget for the benefit of the state.
“We will ensure that this budget proposal receives timely consideration. We will collaborate with relevant stakeholders, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to deliver a budget that is exemplary; a budget that focuses on the aspirations and needs of the people of Edo State.”
The governor, earlier, listed education, health, road transport, buildings, agriculture, energy and electricity as well as economic enablers as the areas of focus in the 2023 fiscal year.
According to Obaseki, “With changes in global economic dynamics and its effect on our economy, states that must survive will have to transform structurally and change the way they operate. Partnerships, therefore, are key to resilience.
“Government does not have all the resources needed to engender growth and development that the people desire. Partnerships with local and international private sector players are therefore germane and expedient so as to make progress.
“It is on this note that the government seeks to enhance reforms in government process, stimulate economic prosperity and improve ease of doing business to continuously attract private capital to engender sustainable development.
“With several projects at the verge of completion in the year 2023, we hope to galvanise all actors and harness resources to increase the opportunities for our people to enhance productivity and expand the economic base of our state.”
He added, “As we drive for economic growth, we will continue to pursue policies and programmes that ensure fair and balanced access to education, health care and social protection across the three senatorial districts of the state.
“Public Private Partnership (PPP) will continue to dominate our investment initiatives in the New Year.”
On the achievements in the outgoing year, the governor said “In 2022, we made considerable progress in the march towards sustainable growth, prioritising key areas of development and building on the gains made in the last six years.
“Despite the excruciating economic realities, we remained on course with our plans, maintained momentum in delivering on the projections made for the year.
“In the outgoing year, we consolidated on the ongoing Public/Civil Service Transformation exercise, ensuring a seamless transition into digitalising our systems and processes in government.
“Following this, we conducted a service-wide digitisation exercise with the deployment of over 4,000 computers and other digital infrastructure, which have helped in making digital versions of government records. We also rolled out the phase II of recruitment exercise, which has injected new life into the civil service across various cadres.
“The Block B of the Secretariat complex was completed this year and various ministries have moved into the facility, utilising the improved work environment in delivering quality service to Edo people.”
He continued: “We have sustained investment in human capital development, as it remains the fulcrum for our developmental goals. Because we believe that our greatest assets are our people, we have decided to strengthen our educational and health institutions to enable our people to realise their full potential and get employment.
“The next phase of the Edo State Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST 2.0) programme was rolled out this year, ensuring the disarticulation of the secondary school system. The programme is now live in Junior Secondary Schools across the state. We have now trained over 15,000 teachers, who are deploying digital tablets to teach over 300,000 across public schools in the state.
“Technical education is also a priority for us. The Government Science and Technical College (GSTC) has been a successful pilot for our state-wide plan to strengthen Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). We are working with partners such as the German Government and the World Bank to roll out more TVET schools across the 18 local governments in the state.
“The Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, will continue to receive the required attention and retain the accreditation of all its courses.
“Reforms in our colleges and universities are yielding positive fruits. The Edo State University, Uzaurie, remains a shining light for our reforms. The Ambrose Alli University is being restructured for sustainability.
“The Edo State College of Agriculture, with campuses in Iguoriakhi, Agenebode and Uromi is taking shape as its reconstructed main campus in Iguoriakhi, will open for classes in the first half of 2023.
“Across the major elements of the tertiary education ecosystem – infrastructure, personnel and operations – we are retooling the systems to deliver greater value to our people.”