By Dipo Olowookere
The budget estimate of Delta State for the 2021 fiscal year has been raised 34.05 per cent or N96.2 billion higher than the 2020 financial year by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
On Tuesday, the Governor presented the Appropriation Bill to the Delta State House of Assembly and during the presentation, he said the sum of N378.48 billion is to be spent next year as against N282 billion approved for this year.
Mr Okowa, who described the bill as Budget of Recovery, noted that more funds would be used to carry out projects across the state, justifying the reason for the N207.52 billion earmarked for capital expenditure and N171.32 billion for recurrent expenditure.
According to him, N113 billion, representing 89.94 per cent of the capital budget is allocated to the economic sector, N35 billion is allocated to the social sector, N10.93 billion for the administration sector and N42 billion for the regional sector.
“In 2021, we propose to spend N66.66 billion on road infrastructure, N6.79 billion on health, education will gulp N23.55 billion, agriculture will take N2.04 billion and water sector will get N1.83 billion.
“Job and Wealth Creation Bureau will gulp N1 billion and youth development will receive N1.25 billion. These key sectors are very essential in our 2021 budget,” the Governor informed the state lawmakers.
He explained that the impact of the COVID-19 on the global economy has made it necessary to spend more funds to revive the economy of the state, especially in the critical sectors.
Mr Okowa said the 2021 budget proposals reinforced the state government’s commitment to road infrastructure, education, health and job and wealth creation programmes as the principal-drivers of the Stronger Delta agenda.
According to him, since 2015, his administration has progressively increased its annual spending on education infrastructure and would continue to scale up investments in the sector as the state continued with plans to establish nine new technical colleges to take off in the 2021/2022 academic session.
He, therefore, stated that “the proposed 2021 Budget for Delta is primarily focused on protecting and supporting our people in a COVID-19 environment, accelerating infrastructural renewal, incentivizing growth, enhancing job creation, engendering social inclusion and developing sustainably.
“Overall, the proposed 2021 budget is predicated on inclusive economic growth that is sustainable and people-centred, with strengthening fiscal sustainability through increased efficiency in spending, improved revenue mobilization and debt sustainability.
“It also entails improving processes and systems in public financial management, and monitoring and evaluation, to bolster better public sector service delivery.”
The Governor explained to the lawmakers that the budget, which was derived from the state’s 2021-2023 FSP/MTEF, was anchored on crude oil production benchmark of 1.86 mbpd, an oil price of $40, an exchange rate of N379/$1 and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 3 per cent with a national inflation rate of 11.95 per cent.
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