Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Wednesday, presented a 2022 Appropriation Bill of N310.7 billion to the state House Assembly.
The bill tagged ‘Budget of Sustainable Growth’, has the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure getting the highest allocation of N51 billion to drive the critical infrastructure programme of the administration.
The Ministry of Agriculture was allotted N12 billion followed by education and health sectors, which got N4 billion each while the Ministry of Finance was allotted N3 billion.
A press release issued by Diri’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor stating that the ministries of Power, Transport and Information, Strategy and Orientation got N1.5 billion each while that of Housing and Rural Development, Special Projects and Ijaw National Affairs were allotted N1 billion each.
The Ministry of Water Resources received N600 million while ministries of Trade and Investment, Budget and Economic Planning, Science and Technology, Culture and Tourism and Youths and Sports Development got N500 million each.
Giving a breakdown of the budget, Diri said capital expenditure would gulp N110.98 billion representing 35.72% of the budget while personnel cost was estimated at N67,413,549,335, representing 21.69% of the total projected expenditure.
Running cost was also estimated at N70,568,791,500, which is 22.71% of the total budget estimate.
Consolidated revenue fund charges, pension and gratuity, Group of 32 Rural Development Areas, federal deductions, debt repayment and other deduction were estimated at N61,755,267,518, which represent 19.88% of the total budget.
Senator Diri also highlighted the budget revenue estimates with an opening balance of N1.902 billion, which include statutory allocation of N43.034 billion, Value Added Tax 15.233 billion, 13% derivation N117.3 billion, excess crude N43.57 billion, internally generated revenue N20 billion among other items and a loan of N43.57 billion to make up a grand total of N310.7 billion.
The Bayelsa helmsman said the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Strategy Paper was based on some key assumptions, which are crude oil production per day of 1.88 million barrels, oil price projections of 57 US dollars to a barrel and an exchange rate of N410.15 to one US dollar.
The governor said expected aids and grants from development partners at national and international levels was estimated at N24.7 billion which is 8% of the total budget estimate, noting that the government projected a deficit of N45.5 billion, which 14.4% of the total budget to be funded by loans.
He said: “Our projections for this year are slightly lower than that of the 2021 budget by N19 billion. The outgoing year’s budget was N329 billion, indicating a reduction of about 3.54%. It is thus my conviction that this Budget of Sustainable Growth will steer us in the right direction by prudently allocating resources.”
According to him, “some of the key priorities of the Budget of Sustainable Growth are building critical infrastructure, sustaining urban renewal and green environment, wealth creation and job opportunities, building human capital, diversifying the economy and improved security.”
He said in the 2021 budget, some of the strategic infrastructure projects embarked upon by the administration include construction of the Sagbama- Ekeremor road, the Unity Bridge in Nembe and the Elebele Bridge in Ogbia.
Others are dualisation and redesigning of the Tombia roundabout, installation of all-in-one solar street light on the Sani Abacha, Melford Okilo and other major roads in Yenagoa metropolis as well as construction of the Yenagoa- Oporoma Road, AIT-Igbogene outer ring road, Amassoma- Igbedi road and the Glory Drive road.
In his remarks, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, said the state government needed to do more in the area of internally generated revenue drive to shore up the finances of the state as it is solely dependent on revenues from the federation account.
He commended the Diri government’s effort to enhance the infrastructure base of the state as well as maintaining a cordial relationship with the three arms of government.
Ingobere promised that the assembly would give a speedy passage to the appriopriation bill.