*** As Delta Assembly Pledges Continuous Cooperation With Executive To Sustain Development

Delta Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, on Tuesday, presented the Appropriation Bill of N378.48 billion for 2021 to the state’s House of Assembly for consideration.

Christened “Budget of Recovery’’, the governor told the lawmakers that the Bill was made up of N207.52 billion for Capital Expenditure and N171.32 billion for Recurrent Expenditure.

He said that capital expenditure constituted 54.76 per cent of the Budget while 45.24 per cent represented recurrent expenditure, and explained that the allocations were consistent with his administration’s agenda of spending more on projects and programmes that would impact directly on socio-economic wellbeing of Deltans.

The 2021 budget is N96.2 billion or 34.05 per cent higher than the N282 billion revised approved budget of 2020.

The governor said that the 2021 budget proposals reinforced the state government’s commitment to road infrastructure, education, health and job and wealth creation programmes as the principal-drivers of the Stronger Delta agenda.

According to him, N113 billion, representing 89.94 per cent of the capital budget is allocated to the economic sector while N35 billion is allocated to the social sector; the administration sector got 10.93 billion and the regional sector, N42 billion.

“In 2021, we propose to spend N66.66 billion on Road Infrastructure; N6.79 billion on Health; Education will gulp N23.55 billion; Agriculture, N2.04 billion and Water Sector, N1.83 billion.

“Job and Wealth Creation Bureau will gulp N1 Billion and Youth Development, N1.25 billion. These key sectors are very essential in our 2021 budget,” Okowa said.

He said that budget, which was derived from the state’s 2021-2023 FSP/MTEF, was anchored on crude oil production benchmark of 1.86 mbpd, oil price of 40 dollars per barrel, exchange rate of N379 per dollar, National Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of three per cent and 11.95 national inflation rate

He disclosed that since 2015, his administration had progressively increased its annual spending on education infrastructure and would continue to scale up investments in the sector as the state continued with plans to establish nine new technical colleges to take off in the 2021/2022 academic session.

The governor pointed out that due to the impact of the COVID-19 on the global economy, government spending was severely hampered by the pandemic, and that Delta was no exception.

He, therefore, stated that “the proposed 2021 Budget for Delta is primarily focused on protecting and supporting our people in a COVID-19 environment, accelerating infrastructural renewal, incentivizing growth, enhancing job creation, engendering social inclusion and developing sustainably.

“Overall, the proposed 2021 Budget is predicated on inclusive economic growth that is sustainable and people-centred, with strengthening fiscal sustainability through increased efficiency in spending, improved revenue mobilization and debt sustainability.

“It also entails improving processes and systems in Public Financial Management, and Monitoring and Evaluation, to bolster better public sector service delivery.”

*** As Delta Assembly Pledges Continuous Cooperation With Executive To Sustain Development

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori has said that the state Assembly is more than ready to cooperate with the Executive to develop a smart, sustainable and knowledge-based state and an economy that will be the envy of all.

In his welcome remarks on Tuesday at the year 2021 budget presentation by the State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, the Speaker said that with the feat achieved by the Governor’s five years in office, there is no doubting the responsiveness and readiness of the House to continue to support the State Government through passage of people-oriented and development driven legislation and said; “We are more than ready to cooperate with the Executive to develop a smart, sustainable and knowledge-based state and an economy that will be the envy of all”.

While welcoming the Governor and members of his entourage officially to the hallowed Chamber of the State Assembly for the presentation of the Year 2021 Budget Estimates, tagged; “Budget Of Recovery” the Speaker said that; “This is one moment Deltans look forward to every year with high optimism. Your Excellency, around this time last year, you were here to present the Year 2020 Budget Proposal, itemizing your projections for the outgoing year. Today, with the remarkable support of this Honourable House, we are all witnesses to the jobs done so far as regards infrastructural development/renewal and wealth creation”.

“The completion and commissioning of several road projects across the three Senatorial districts and the ongoing work on the Ughelli/Asaba Dualisation among other completed and ongoing infrastructural projects too numerous to mention are pointers to your success story. Again, I will not fail to commend Your Excellency on the ongoing Ultra Modern Secretariat being built by this government that will provide accommodation for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies”, he said.

The Speaker added that; “This could not have been realized without the Legislative support of this Honourable House. It is imperative therefore, to give all the appreciation to God Almighty who made our yearnings and aspirations for the good people of Delta State in the year 2020 a reality to a reasonable extent as well as for keeping us safe till this moment”.

According to him, the year 2020 has been very challenging as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic, saying economies of the world have suffered severe downturn due to travel and business restrictions and noted that; “As a state, we were not immune from the adverse effect of the pandemic. However, we must commend Your Excellency for your foresight and proactive approach in revising the Year 2020 Budget to meet the economic reality of the time. With this masterstroke, the state gained more traction to birth projects and programmes despite the Covid-19 challenges”.

He said; “Honourable colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, is today presenting the Year 2021 Budget Estimates for consideration by the House. Without an iota of doubt, I believe that the Year 2021 Budget Estimates His Excellency will present this morning will advance the Stronger Delta Vision of the state government”.

Rt.Hon Oborevwori stated that the House will not rest on its oars in scrutinizing the Budget to deliver on its promises in meeting the aspirations of the people, adding that; “Essentially, we are duty-bound to painstakingly examine the details of the Budget for the purpose of transforming same for the benefits of all Deltans”.

“Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me assure all present that this House, through effective oversight, will ensure that the 2021 Budget Estimates deliver on its promises to ensure that the Stronger Delta Initiative of His Excellency is firmly on course by focusing on infrastructure development, wealth creation, inclusive growth and prioritizing the wellbeing of Deltans”, he said.

The Speaker reassured the Governor of the readiness of Honourable Members of the House of Assembly to partner with his administration to achieve the Stronger Delta Vision.

Motion to accept the Appropriation Bill for consideration was moved by the Majority Leader of the House, Hon Tim Owhefere and was seconded by the Minority Leader, Hon Innocent Anidi.

The lawmakers also approved a motion, slating the second reading of the Bill for Oct. 28, 2020.