The Delta State 2022 Budget

October 28, 2021
Delta State 2022 Budget

By Jerome-Mario Utomi

Going by the content of the budget proposal of N469.5 billion for the 2022 fiscal year presented to the Delta State House of Assembly by the Delta Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, on Thursday, October 21, 2021, in Asaba, it is obvious that the state Governor truly plans to live behind positive impacts on the lives of Deltans.

The budget provisions visibly suggest that he (the Governor) places heavy emphasis on the understanding that the economy would look after itself if adequate investment is made towards human capital development, if the infrastructure is developed, democracy is protected; human rights are adequately taken care of, and the rule of law strictly adhered to.

Christened Budget of Inclusive Growth and Accelerated Development, the governor told the lawmakers that the Bill was made up of N284.14 billion for capital expenditure and N185.36 billion for recurrent expenditure.

He said that capital expenditure constituted 60.5 per cent of the budget while 39.5 per cent represented recurrent expenditure, and explained that the allocations were targeted at the completion of all ongoing projects and new projects in critical areas of need.

The 2022 budget is N85.5 billion higher than the N383.95 billion revised approved budget of 2020.

The Governor said that the 2022 budget proposal was also targeted at greater transparency and proper accountability in public expenditure to enable citizens to get value for money in all projects and programmes of government.

According to him, N158 billion, representing 59 per cent of the capital budget, is allocated to the economic sector while N55.18 billion is allocated to the social sector, the administration sector got 13.35 billion and the regional sector, N49 billion.

“In 2022, we propose to spend N105.3 billion on road and bridges infrastructure – Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency, N7.5 billion and Warri Uvwie and Environs Development Agency, N7.5 billion, for road infrastructure and stormwater/flood control.

“Others include N10.30 billion on health; education N34.6 billion; agriculture, N2 billion and water sector, N2.9 billion,” he said.

Without a doubt, there are in the opinion of this intervention countless examples of a people-focused provision contained in the budget and it speaks loud and clear that the state is today in a new world.

Again, by these development-purposed allocations, Governor Okowa, as subsequent paragraphs will illustrate, has shown that it is not enough for those in the position of authority (government) to follow tradition. Rather, they must be in a position to use tradition as the foundation upon which we must build a new society.

From the above claim by the piece, there may be those who might wish to ask when this change began to take place and what is the evidence/rationale? These questions posed, even if they are difficult, demand serious, reflected and honest answers particularly, as they are of ethical concerns.

In view of this fact and in relation to the subject of this intervention, let’s look at the following particulars.

First, by allocating capital expenditure for the 2022 budget higher than that of 2021 to the tune of 60.5 per cent which the Governor noted must be utilized in funding infrastructural development, acquisition of assets and investments in human capital expenditure, Okowa led administration has proved to the wider world that it recognizes/acknowledge the pivotal role infrastructures play to every society, state or nation- ‘that infrastructure enables development and provides the services that underpin the ability of people to be economically productive.

Another area of interest in the budget to watch is Governor Okowa’s declaration that the budget would be funded from the regular revenue sources including the opening balance from the previous year, statutory allocation, 13 per cent oil mineral fund, taxes and non-tax revenue fees, fines, permits, rents, interests, among others.

Inherently, when one juxtaposes this projected funding strategy by the state with that of the Federal Government style that has placed the nation on a ‘borrowing spree/speed, it says something new and different.

Comparatively, whilst it portrays the state government as an entity with a clear understanding that development must be achieved without excess socioeconomic environment degradation, but in a way that both protects the rights and opportunities of coming generations and contribute to compatible approaches, it on the other hands amplifies the belief that the federal government is yet to come to the understanding that ‘no nation becomes strong by living on borrowed funds’.

In the same vein, the increase in capital expenditure over the previous year’s approved budget not only portrays a government that wants to ‘finish strong’ via completion of ongoing projects, as well as new ones in the critical areas of need but is committed to channelling more resources to the growth and productive sectors of the economy.

Also alluring is the Governor’s declaration that his administration would be careful to pursue a prudent policy stance that would entrench efficient spending, curb waste, and engender inclusiveness in order for him to deliver excellently. It will also focus on transparency and proper accountability in public expenditure so that citizens can always get value for money in all projects and programmes of the government.

To further demonstrate this resolve on transparency/accountability, Okowa had this to say;

“on the implementation of the 2021 budget, the state received the sum of N220.6 billion during the first eight months of the year as against the expected proportionate revenue of N255.9 billion. This represents 86 per cent budget performance, which is a good score in the face of the current uncertainties in the economy. Out of this amount, the sum of N45.73 billion was generated as IGR against the proportional figure of N43.75 billion which represents 105 per cent budget performance.”

Also worthy of mention/praise in my view is the Governor’s comment that in other to continue tackling unemployment by creating jobs and wealth for our youths, the state is proposing the sum of N4.85 billion to improve the success rate of beneficiaries of the entrepreneurship development programmes of the Job and Wealth Creation Bureau, Ministry of Youth Development as well as GEST, WESAP and microcredit of Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Agency.

However, as all eyes are currently fixed at the state House of Assembly to pass the budget, one does not need to be an economist to observe that there exist some critical points/provisions in the proposed budget that need to be re-chiselled.

For example, looking at the not too impressive N34.6 billion for the education sector, I hold the opinion that the state must find ways to beef up the allocation to the sector to reflect the UNESCO budgetary recommendation.

Finally and very fundamental, for our budget to perform well, one point that the Governor must not fail to remember is that a well-planned budget must make provision for the constant monitoring of its implementation.

Also very crucial is the fact that effectiveness is ensured in implementation if public office holders respond promptly to the problems the budget was created to solve.

Jerome-Mario Utomi, Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), wrote from Lagos. He could be reached via [email protected] or 08032725374.

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