Abia commissioner presents 2018 budget breakdown to State Assembly for approval

THE Abia State Commissioner of Finance, Obinna Oriaku, Wednesday presented a budget breakdown of 2018 fiscal year to the State House of Assembly for approval.

Presenting the budget Oriaku, Oriaku told the lawmakers that the breakdown provides in detail the financial policies and proposals embodied in the budget of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu presented to them on December 22, 2017.

Oriaku said that the 2018 Abia State Draft Budget which is christened “Budget of Partnerships and Opportunities” clearly showed government’s direction in the present economic uncertainties facing Nigeria as a nation.

The budget he explained would be financed with projected Revenue of N80,083,177,854 (Eighty Billion, Eighty-three Million, One Hundred and Seventy-seven Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty-four Naira) only. This total estimated Revenue is made up of an expected flow of Receipts.

The expected total revenue from FAAC/V is N50,921,036,894. This represents 63.57% contribution from FAAC to the total Revenue, while Independent Revenue contributes 36.43%.

“In 2018, this administration intends to accelerate the completion of on-going infrastructure projects and embark on new initiatives that will deliver immensely on the economic growth of the State. As a result of this vision, the government has proposed Capital Expenditure of N72,460,500,00”, he added.

According to him, “Government will concentrate efforts in maximising the expected returns the 5 Pillars, the enablers, partnerships and the cooperation with the Private Sector will give us. We are determined to put in place virile and strong SMEs through Public Private Partnership initiatives that will drive the development of our economy.

“The breakdown of allocations to the Pillars is as follows:

Agriculture: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ensure sustainable food production, increased income and better livelihood and end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture respectively.

“In order to achieve these, Government is poised to re-engineer the agricultural sector which is one of the five pillars. This will be by exploring conventional opportunities of improved technologies (biotechnology, genetic engineering and improved farm implements) as well as value addition to attracting higher revenue.

“We have proposed projects in 2018 budget that will employ improved farm inputs, farming systems, and post-harvest processing technologies to increase food production, create jobs and ensure food security. Micro-credit to farmers (individuals and Cooperative societies) in the State will be sustained. The government will continue to assist farmers by the provision and distribution of high-yielding cassava cutting, maize seeds, cocoa and palm seedlings to farmers in the State. The provision and sale of fertilizers at a subsidised rate to enhance yield will remain critical to Government.

“To achieve these stated goals, Government is ready to partner with relevant bodies at the national and international levels as well as the private sector. Budgetary allocation for Agriculture is N2,384,700,000 (3.29% of the Capital Allocation).

“In 2018 fiscal year government is determined to work and ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages in line with SDG 3. We shall deeply integrate the health system using Ward Development Committees. Government is committed not just to provide high-quality healthcare service for all but to make it effective, affordable and accessible with the right technology, infrastructure and manpower.

“The Budgetary allocation is N5,623,000,000 (7.76% of the Capital Allocation). Education: Government is mindful of the importance of education in the areas of acquisition of relevant skills and competencies for development of the individual and the society. The government also sees education as the foundation to improve people’s lives and sustainable development through relevant skills and competencies for development of the individual and the society and especially now that economies are becoming knowledge-based.

“This administration is mindful of Goal 4 of the SDGs which is achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all. Therefore, we will take human capital development as a critical issue in development. This accounts for why Education is one of the 5 Pillars and has a budgetary allocation of N5,420,200,000 (7.48% of the Capital Allocation Commerce and Industry:

“We are geared towards meeting Goal 9 – to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation. Government is, therefore, taking seriously the issue of collaborating with a number of investment groups to increase investment through international partnerships in rural infrastructure by providing and increasing access of small-scale industrial groups /other enterprises to affordable microcredit and their integration into value chains and markets.

“This sector, as you know, is one of the pillars and growth drivers of the State economy under the present administration and will be positioned to inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship for accelerated economic growth and development.

“This will be done through increased encouragement to the private sector initiatives/partnerships to optimally participate in the creation of wealth and reduction of poverty amongst Abians. We shall also intensify effort to encourage both local and direct foreign investments in the State.

“The State, through the Ministries of Trade; and Industry, Science and Technology will encourage the establishment of cottage industries, development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which will stimulate growth in agriculture for large-scale commercial farming, boost agricultural production and rural development.

“The State already has an agency in place (Abia State Small and Medium Enterprise Centre) – to help take care of the development needs of the SMEs especially the development of the various Leather/Garment Clusters in Aba, with access to alternative power and Resource Centre.

The Budgetary allocation is N938,238,000 (1.3% of the Capital Allocation). Oil and Gas: We have already entered into an understanding with Techno Oil and Gas Company, Lagos on oil prospection.

“Beyond this, it is expected that during the fiscal year, this administration shall intensify efforts in building resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization for productive employment in the sub-sector through specialized manpower training in the area of oil and gas with the Ministry of Education in the area of Education for Employment (E4E). The Budgetary allocation is N30,000,000 (0.04% of the Capital Allocation).

To strengthen the fiscal management discipline, he said, “It is responsive to the principle of international best practices where prudence, transparency and probity in the application of resources are maintained as a standard.

“Well built human capacity resources that will help the government in its resolve to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: Economic Development, Environmental Sustainability, Social inclusion, Positive Governance.

“Emergence of a conducive and friendly business environment with an adequate infrastructure that will make Abia investors destination• Healthy population with a reduction in morbidity and mortality rates that come through communicable diseases.

“The proposed 2018 budget represents this administration’s new resolve to totally re-engineer the economy in such a way that will elevate the socio-economic well-being of Abians.

“Our focus is to accelerate the development of the physical and human infrastructure for wealth creation and improved livelihood. This is where our spending proposals hinge upon. All the implementers/stakeholders are enjoined to ensure that while implementing the Budget they have the theme of the Budget at the back of their minds.

“As the flow of revenue is not quite predictable anymore we all should keep our eyes on engaging viable partnerships and bring the opportunities derivable to give the State a life wire. Let me conclude by expressing my gratitude to all who are here today and have given me an audience. We will implement the budget for the realisation of the hope and aspirations of every Abian,” he said.

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