From Steve Oko, Umuahia
Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, has presented a total of N131, 815, 753, 720 billion budget estimate for the 2021 fiscal year.
Presenting the Appropriation Bill christened “Budget of Local Contents and Sustainable Development” on the floor of the Abia State House of Assembly, Monday, Ikpeazu said it was aimed at fast-tracking the post covid-19 economic recovery of the state.
An analysis of the budget outlay showed a significant increase of 22.12% from 2020 Revised budget of N102,660,432,904.00.
While N62,624,512,746 which represents 47.51% was estimated for recurrent expenditure, N69,191,240,974 representing 52.49%, was budgeted for capital expenditure which is 11.73% increase from the 2020 Revised Budget.
Gov Ikpeazu said that the 2021 Budget was aimed at completing the on-going projects and programmes.
“New projects will mainly be in the form of COVID-19 responsive projects that aim to cushion the shocks of the pandemic and assist the State economy recover quickly”, he added.
According to the governor, Abia adopted 2021 – 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper of the Federal Government which set out the parameters for the 2021 Budget, including benchmark oil price of 40 US Dollars per barrel.
His word: “It is the wish of the present Administration to prepare an equitable, realistic and implementable budget in the context of multi-year (2021-2023) Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) that will be in line with the current economic realities”.
Ikpeazu urged members of the House of Assembly to consider the speedy passage of the budget estimate for timely implementation.
“Let me re-emphasize that Abians expect that the 2021 Budget will contain only implementable and critical projects, which when completed, will significantly address current structural challenges of the economy, improve the business environment and accelerate economic recovery”, he said.
Responding, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, thanked the governor and assured that the lawmakers would thoroughly look at the proposal and ensure its passage after scrutinising it.