Rivers State Governor Nyesom wike yesterday presented a N470 billion budget for the 2017 fiscal year to the House of Assembly.
The governor, who tagged the appropriation bill The Golden Jubilee Budget for Accelerated Development, said the estimate was projected at 2.1 million barrels per day crude oil output with a benchmark of $40 per barrel.
He said out of the budgeted amount, N329 billion, which represents 70 per cent, was for capital expenditure, while N141 billion, representing 30 per cent, was for recurrent expenditure.
Wike said the budget was premised on the need to consolidate on his administration’s 2016 achievements as well as restore the economy to sustained growth path and expand economic opportunities for all.
The governor said the budget would be funded from revenue receipts accruing from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), 13 per cent derivation proceeds, Value Added Tax (VAT), reimbursements, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and domestic credits.
He added that the government intended to ensure that internal and external borrowings were kept within reasonable level.
Wike said: “Mr. Speaker, as indicated above, the 2017 budget strategy is designed towards aligning expenditures to priorities that best support our economic transformation agenda.
“Accordingly, the following priority areas will receive preferential calls on all our revenues for 2017: Security of life and property; Infrastructure development and maintenance; Education; Healthcare delivery and empowerment.
“Finally, having substantially reduced our exposure to multilateral debt obligations, we intend to ensure that internal and external borrowings are kept within reasonable levels and channel a major part of capital expenditures toward funding strategic infrastructure, healthcare, education and other priority programmes to accelerate economic growth, expand economic opportunities and empower our people.”
On the performance of the 2016 budget, which was N307 billion, Wike noted that out of the N115 billion projected for allocation, only N92.5 billion was received, while N73.5 billion was realiaed from IGR, out of the expected N120 million as at last September.
The governor said out of the N120 billion recurrent expenditure projected for 2016, N313,624,479.21, representing 63.59 per cent of the approved sum had been spent as at last September.
Speaker Adams Dabotorudima noted that having capital expenditure more than the recurrent expenditure showed that the governor had the development of the people at heart.
He thanked Wike for his doggedness in governing Rivers residents.
Also, the 2017 Appropriation Bill was moved to the committee stage on the floor of the Assembly yesterday.
The lawmakers began debate on the budget shortly after the governor left.
They suspended Order 50, Rule 3 of the House Rules.
Dabotorudima directed the ministries, corporations, government agencies and departments to make their presentations to the House Committee on Appropriation before December 30. (The Nation)