…Prioritises Completion of existing projects on revenue
By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has presented a total budget size estimated at N339billion as the 2021 Appropriation Bill before the members of the State House of Assembly.
The budget comprises of N162billion for recurrent expenditure and N177billion for various capital projects for the next fiscal year.
The budget which was christened: ” Budget of Recovery and Sustainability”, hinged on the ‘ISEYA’ mantra of the present administration and other functional classifications, allocated a sum of N119billion as internally generated revenues with N59billion expected from the federation account.
The capital receipt was fixed at N142billion comprising of internal and external loans including grants and aid.
According to Governor Abiodun, the total overhead costs of Ministries, Departments and Agencies was projected at N50billion for the next fiscal year, which represents an increase of N11billion from N39billion in 2020.
He added that the State had made provision for the sum of N28.4billon for debt servicing in 2021, representing an increase of N13billion from N15.7billion in 2020; with more measures proposed for the sustainability of the existing enabling environment for investment and creation of employment to trigger a redistribution of resources.
Giving the breakdown of the 2021 proposal, he stated that education sector was allocated N58billion, N75billion proposed for economic affairs, with N49billion to cater for general public services, while health would gulp N35billion, with housing & community amenities having N28billion allocation.
Others included social and environmental protection which were given N5billion estimate, while N9billion was expected to take care of public order and safety, with recreation, culture and religion given N7billion and the remaining N73billion for Statewide services, including public debt charges, stabilization fund, pensions and gratuities.
The Governor explained that the State Government’s fiscal policy would be geared towards improving the efficiency and effectiveness of spending and achieving a better balance between capital and recurrent expenditure, noting that the policy would include greater control of the wage bill; directing capital expenditure on critical infrastructure and boosting revenue receipts by identifying and plugging revenue leakages, with consideration to gradual fiscal consolidation in order to achieve a level of public spending consistent with macro-economic stability and sustainable debt.
He added that the investment focus of the State was to create an enabling environment for business, reduce the identified infrastructure gap as well as provide fiscal stimulus to lift demand. Consequently, the State in allocating envelopes to different sectors and MDAs, gave priority in the allocation process to the completion of existing projects, projects with revenue potential, projects consistent with priorities articulated in the State Economic Development Strategy as well as projects that could enhance employment generation.
Recalling the adverse effect of the pandemic on the State budget performance, the governor submitted that “Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, let me now highlight some key elements of the performance of Year 2020 Budget. You will recall that N450B was initially approved as Year 2020 Budget. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, all the assumptions underlining the 2020 Budget became unrealistic and unattainable. This necessitated an obvious need to review downward the approved 2020 Budget. Thus, we forwarded a Bill to the House in July, this year to review the 2020 Budget down to N281bn (38% decrease).
I recall and commend the House once again for the sense of responsibility and dispatch with which this Honourable House treated the request and passed the revised 2020 Budget accordingly. In the 2020 Revised Budget, the total projected revenue is N281billion, comprising of N114billion as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and N38billion as expected inflows from the Statutory Allocation and Value Added Tax. However, as at 31st of October 2020, actual total revenue was N92billion, representing 42% of the pro-rated revenue target”.
Governor Abiodun further assured that the construction of the new legislative complex for the State lawmakers would commence next fiscal year to further aid legislative assignments
Earlier in his welcome address, the Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo, stated that the presentation being a constitutional requirement for all elected governors was in consonance with provisions of Section 121 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
Reeling out the achievements of the Ninth Legislature under his leadership, the Speaker intimated that a total of 33 bills and 23 resolutions covering all human endeavours, including finance, education, judiciary, local government, public works, infrastructure, community development, general administration amongst others with 36 public petitions received and resolved accordingly; acknowledging the successes of the present administration done in an unprecedented manner among the comity of States.
On the capital project of the Assembly, Olumo remarked that “If we care to look up in this chamber and conduct a tour of office accommodation in the complex, the enormous needs of this legislature will be apparent; in fact regular maintenance has kept it up to this state as the structure was constructed 1979.
“In effect, we wish to appeal to His Excellency to come to the aid of the House in fixing the problem of office accommodation of the legislature in the State, if done, it will stand as a signature project of the present administration in the State”.
In his closing remarks, Speaker Oluomo while expressing that the State deserved nothing less than an innovative leadership as the head of the executive arm, a fearless judiciary and vibrant legislature, reassured the readiness and commitment of his colleague-lawmakers at ensuring the speedy passage of the 2021 Appropriation Bill and other legislations that would add value to quality of life for the people.