One day after the State budget arrived the State House of Assembly, public attention is gradually shifting from the Wike administration to State lawmakers.
What would they accomplish? Will they reduce the size of the budget, or will they agree with the economic projections of the Government?
Events of the next few days would determine what will happen.
Lawmakers who received the budget at the weekend are expected to break up into Committees for the purpose of a budget defence process that would begin any moment.
The Rivers State Government, according to Governor Wike’s presentation, is to spend approximately 483.1 billion in the 2022 fiscal year.
A breakdown of the figures shows that the sum of One Hundred and Forty-Four Billion, Seven Hundred and Sixty-Four Million, Eight Hundred and Eighteen Thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventy-Seven Naira (N144.8bn), representing about 30 per cent of the total budget, is for Recurrent Expenditure.
N314 billion representing about 65 percent of the entire budget for 2022 is for Capital Expenditure.
Presenting the budget, the Governor told lawmakers that the budget christened the 2022 budget of “Consolidation”, depicts the economic direction of the State in the coming year.
Urging them to pass the Appropriation Bill of four hundred and Eighty-three billion, one hundred and seventy-three million, three hundred and seven thousand, ninety-six naira (N483,173, 307,096.00), Governor Wike disclosed that the major policy thrust of the 2022 Appropriation Bill is intended to further the state’s quest for greater economic growth and fiscal consolidation.
It represents the inside of the plan to create new jobs, encourage wealth creation and build first-rate economic infrastructure, the Governor explained.
Achieving equity as well as social protection through poverty reduction and economic inclusiveness, remains the cardinal aim of the Rivers State Government, Wike also stressed.
Reviewing the journey so far, Wike said in comparison to other States, that his administration is succeeding in effectively managing State resources.
He explained that the effect of the desire to be prudent is being seen through ongoing efforts to erect a strong economy.
He revealed that in the last two years, tangible growth has been posted consistently.
The Governor remarked, “Within Nigeria, our economy is not only stronger than 90 per cent of the other states; it has continued to perform better than most others in terms of real economic growth, fiscal consolidation, debt-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio and Internal Revenue Generation.
“The 2022 budget is crafted within the framework of the State’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework, the State’s Economic Strategy Paper, the national economic outlook and the State’s economic growth projections, coupled with the various development instruments and programmes.”
Providing further statistics, the governor emphasized that expectations contained in the 2022 budget are premised on certain economic assumptions.
This includes the projection that the crude oil benchmark would not be less than USD 50 per barrel; and the projection that the country would sustain national crude oil production estimate of 1.7 million barrels per day.
Other factors such as the currency exchange rate of N410 to the Dollar; Gross Domestic Product growth rate of approximately 3% for the medium term; and an Inflation rate of 13.5 per cent were equally considered in drawing up the budget.
“Although this is yet another ambitious projection given the challenges of the national economy”, Governor Wike noted, “we believe we would be able to successfully implement the capital because it is backed by a concrete plan of action…”
The bulk of the money under capital expenditure would be expended on Agriculture, Roads, Bridges, security, Healthcare, Education, Social Welfare, Justice Delivery, Sports, Youth and Women Empowerment.
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