From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Wednesday presented a N448,660,773,476 billion Budget, for 2021 fiscal year to the state’s House of Assembly for consideration and approval.
The proposed 2021 budget christened, “Budget of Recovery and Consolidation”, is made up of N305, 894, 284.061 for Capital Expenditure, while N142,776,489,415 is earmarked as Recurrent Expenditure.
Presenting the Budget to lawmakers at the State House of Assembly in Port Harcourt, Governor Wike said the N448,660,773,476 budget for 2021 fiscal year represents more than 20% increase over the 2020 Revised Budget of N300 billion.
He said the capital expenditure, representing 68.18% of the total budget size, constituted as follows: Administrative sector N 87, 790,330,011.37; Economic sector N 105,077,364,248,.81; Law and Justice N1,742,996,000.00; Social sector – N 132, 656,033,322.35 and Deductions/Loan repayments N38,000,000,000.00.
The governor explained that the capital budget will be deployed to advance economic growth and social progress by targeting and prioritizing investments.
He said the sum of N82,957,295,248.81 has been provided for the provision of infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and completion of flyover projects at Okoro-Nu-Odo, Rumuola, Rumuogba, and Port Harcourt GRA junction.
“We will also deliver the Ogoni – Andoni – Opobo unity road, the Eastern bypass dualization, 6th and 7th flyover projects and the Wakama road as well as all other ongoing rural roads in our communities and local government areas across the State.”
The governor stated that over N6 billion has been provided in the 2021 budget to stimulate economic growth through investments in commerce, culture and tourism, mineral resource development as well as address environmental challenges to improve the quality of life of all residents.
Similarly, he said N13,861,407,451.97 has been provided to fund various social and economic investment schemes to support the development of small and medium scale businesses as part of efforts to create jobs and reduce poverty.
The governor noted that economic challenges of the COVD-19 pandemic clearly exposed the State vulnerability to food insecurity. Hence, the sum of N16,107,080,000.00 will be spent on targeted investments in the agriculture value chain in a bid to create employment and enhance collective food security of the state.
In cognizance that quality public education remains the key to breaking cycles of poverty, the governor said his administration has decided to prioritize education in the 2021 budget with the provision of N30,000,000,00 to boost infrastructure, enhance access and retention rates and improve educational outcomes in our schools throughout the State.
The governor hinted that the State government has provided N25,111,728,000.00 for health care services for 2021 fiscal year. According to him, government will focus on completing the four zonal referral hospitals at Ahoada, Bori, Degema, Okehi and Omoku, which are all at advanced stages of completion.
Governor Wike, explained that the 2021 budget will also prioritizes security and sustains the existing efforts in combating insecurity and keeping residents safe and secure.
The Speaker, Ikuinyi Ibani, lauded Governor Wike’s commitment towards transforming the State’s economy. According to him, generations to come will live to acknowledge his good deeds.