Wike Presents N510bn 2018 Budget To Assembly …As 2017 Budget Records 74% Performance

Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike (middle), laying the 2018 Rivers State Appropriation Bill before the Rivers State House of Assembly in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has presented the 2018 Appropriation Bill of N510billion to the Rivers State House of Assembly for consideration and subsequent approval.
Christened the “Budget of Consolidation, Advancement and Empowerment”, Wike said the budget will consolidate and advance the state’s investments in infrastructure, education, healthcare, and security, as well as in growing the economy to create jobs and empower the people.
Presenting the budget proposal to the House, yesterday, the governor said the proposed 2018 Rivers State Budget has N379, 997, 687, 404.00 as capital expenditure, while N132 billion will be used for recurrent expenditure.
He said: “This gives a capital to recurrent expenditure ratio of 75 to 25 per cent respectively. The substantial increase in capital over recurrent expenditure, once again, underscores our commitment to direct substantial resources to the critical growth sectors of our economy.”
Wike said the 2018 budget will be funded from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) N40billion; 13 per cent oil minerals fund of N120billion; Value Added Tax inflow of N6billion; Internally Generated Revenue of N132billion; reimbursements amounting to N70billion; Domestic/International Credits of N70billion; and Capital receipts N20billion.
The governor stated that a total portfolio of N90billion and N35billion have been allocated to the Ministry of Works and the Special Projects Bureau, respectively, to fund the delivery of capital projects in the 2018 budget.
He said that the administration was committed to the completion of key projects in different parts of the state.
The projects include: Dualisation of Saapkenwa–Bori road; Dualisation of Slaughter–Trans Amadi–Garrison road; Dualisation of Elelenwo–Akpajo road; Dualisation of Oil Mill–Woji–Elelenwo–Akpajo road; Dualisation of Prof Tam David-West (Obiri Ikwerre–Airport) road; the Andoni–Opobo section of the Unity road.
Others include internal road networks in Abonnema in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area; Amadi-Ama in Port Harcourt Local Government Area; Okochiri in Okrika Local Government Area; Elele and Isiokpo in Ikwerre Local Government Area; among others.
Other key projects also earmarked for delivery in 2018 include Bonny–Bille Waterside Jetty; Mile One Market, Phase 2; reclamation works in Abalama in Asari-Toru Local Government Area; Ogu town in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area; Bakana in Degema Local Government Area; and Ogbunabali in Port Harcourt Local Government Area.
The rest include constituency projects such as Real Madrid Football Academy; luxury living quarters for judicial officers from the state, among other projects; and the cinema and restaurant project in the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park.
The governor added: “We shall also start some new projects, including the Women Development Centre, the new world-class international conference centre, and roads.”
On education, Wike said: “We are devoting N50billion to fund the education sector for the 2018 fiscal year. This sum is N20billion more than that of 2017.
“In addition, we have proposed a capital grant of N500million to each of our tertiary institutions to bolster infrastructural development and improve quality.
“Apart from proposing the sum of N2billion for the provision of scholarships for critical areas of the state’s manpower needs, we have also proposed to set aside another N2billion to partner, encourage and support the development of private universities and improve access to tertiary education for Rivers indigenes in the state,” the governor added.
Wike stated that his administration was “Providing the sum of N30billion in 2018 to enhance all aspects of the healthcare delivery system in the state, including the provision of health infrastructure for health institutions, recruitment and training of medical doctors and other healthcare personnel, refurbishing and equipping our primary healthcare centres, providing vaccines for routine immunization against child-killer diseases, as well as in carrying out education and sensitization programmes on reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child healthcare”.
On security, Wike said that the state government will continue to invest heavily in the security of lives and property through the funding of security agencies and provision of logistics for them to effectively secure the state.
He said: “We have also approved the establishment of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (RSNSC) to further enhance the security in the state. When fully established and operational, the corps will have the responsibility to collaborate with the security agencies to combat crime and cultism in our communities and neighbourhoods.
“The State Executive Council has already approved the bill to give effect to this initiative, which we shall soon transmit for the consideration of the House of Assembly and passing into law. The N22billion we have proposed in the 2018 budget for security operations will also take care of the setting-up and operationalisation of this agency,” Wike added.
In order to tackle high level of youth unemployment and poverty, the governor said that empowerment has been prioritised in 2018.
Wike proposed N6billion for employment generation, N7billion for women development and N2 billion to support youth development.
He added that the state government will inject N1billion into the state’s Microfinance Agency (RIMA) to provide loans and support the development of small-scale enterprises in the state.
The governor said that sports development will be funded by the state government in 2018, noting that the Real Madrid Football Academy will come on stream.
He said: “We will also continue to fund the state’s football teams and support them to win laurels at national and continental levels for the state. For these and other activities for a comprehensive development of sports in the state, we propose to spend N2.5billion for fiscal year 2018.”
The governor said that investments in the administration of justice and the justice sector will be sustained.
He said that N4.350billion has been allocated to the law and justice sector.
The state chief executive said the administration decided to renew and strengthen her partnership with the church of God in the state by proposing to establish a Trust Fund for the church to administer to its needs.
“The sum of N1billion has been proposed under this budget for this purpose,” he noted.
Wike said that in the past two and a half years, the administration has demonstrated that it is committed to solving the problems it inherited and advance the overall wellbeing of the people.
He said: “For us, our state deserves meaningful development and we must, as a government, continue to do our best to deliver to our people. That is why we are offering a realistic budget for 2018, which takes a balanced and pragmatic approach towards solving the developmental challenges of our state and take it to the next level of transformation.”
It would be recalled that the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike proposed a Budget of N470billion for 2017.
The 2017 budget recorded about 74 per cent performance, which was a significant improvement over that of 2016.
In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Ikunyi-Owaji Ibani assured the people of Rivers State that the state Assembly will continue to support the Executive to deliver the development of the state.
Ibani said an analysis of the 2018 Budget shows that the Rivers State governor will consolidate on development in different sectors of the state’s economy.
He said that the state House of Assembly will treat the budget expeditiously, but stated that due process will be followed.
According to the speaker, “Only a pathological fault finder will not see the good works of the Rivers State governor. The governor has performed creditably well”.