Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has presented the State’s 2015 Budget estimates of N156.551 billion to the State House of Assembly for approval.
Christened “Budget of Developmental Consolidation”, it is aimed at taking the state to the next level. Made up of N87.5 billion as Capital expenditure, representing 55.77% and N68.99 billion, representing 44.23%, the budget is N4 billion lower than the 2014 budget which stood at N160.1 billion.
He also said the Budget is designed towards the completion of all ongoing projects, injection of new investments in key priority sectors of the administration which are Roads Construction and Rehabilitation, Education, Health, Water, Rural Electrification and Environmental Protection including Drainage towards Erosion Control and Beautification.
The Governor said the budget will also address projects for job creation particularly through economic empowerment with emphasis on micro-credit to small and medium scale enterprises; Project for mass housing, expanding the revenue base, creation of the enabling environment for domestic and direct foreign investment and deepening of governance reforms
“The Budget is designed to achieve the consolidation of this administration’s developmental agenda and focus on key priority sector of government namely; infrastructure, Education and Health.
On how the budget will be funded, Oshiomhole said, “we are aware that Edo State derives the bulk of its revenue from statutory allocation from the Federation account for the funding of Capital and recurrent expenditures. We will continue to sustain and redouble our efforts to substantially reduce our dependence on the federation account allocation by intensifying our Internal Revenue Generation drive in the coming years.
“Accordingly, we envisage a significant boost to our IGR in 2015 while we will continue to leverage other domestic and external sources to fund projects that meet the state’s social and economic benefit cost and with positive cash flow to pay back.”
In line with the global best practices, the Budget is classified into four sectors: Administration which takes N17.873 billion recurrent and N4.031 billion Capital; Economic with N5.342 billion recurrent and N26.029 billion Capital; Law and Justice with N2.955 billion recurrent and N0.837 billion capital and Social with N20.173 billion recurrent and N46.665 billion Capital.
Flood, Erosion Control and Environmental protection takes the lion share of the budget with N18.5 billion, followed by the Education sector with N18.1 billion; Roads takes N16.95 bilion while the sum of N9.298 billion was allocated to the Health sector.
Expatiating on the Health Sector, Oshiomhole said, “among the Capital projects we have earmarked for 2015 are the completion of the construction and equipping of the new Accident and Emergency 200 beds complex of the Central Hospital, Benin City. Completion and furnishing of the second and third floor of the Block D of the New Secretarial Complex and ongoing renovation of Hospital buildings at the General Hospital, Agenebode”.
Speaking ion roads infrastructure, Oshiomhole said. “A key priority of this administration is the completion and provision of good quality, well-drained and all-year motorable standard road infrastructure. Our target is to connect as many communities, villages and towns as possible to accelerate social and economic activities in the state”.
While reviewing the state’s 2014 budget, Oshiomhole said, “The total expected revenue was N117.48 billion. However, as at June 2014, the actual revenue realized was N43.256 billion naira. In 2014, the revenue performance was affected by the drop in the allocation from the Federation account which adversely affected the revenue profile of the state”.
He however noted that despite these challenges, “We have effectively arrested a palpable decay and dilapidation we have inherited in the environmental, social, education and transportation sector. This has enabled us to lay a solid foundation for sustainable development of the state as well as raise the bar in terms of standards both for project execution and service delivery across sectors of our economy”.
Oshiomhole expressed joy that the government has remained faithful to payments of wage obligation despite the dwindling allocation and inflow from the federal sources.
“We have equally honored our pensions and gratuity commitments. On the whole, we have sustained our policy of financial prudence and budget discipline which has kept the cost of governance within reasonable limits and ensured that more resources are channeled to Capital expenditures and welfare enhancing projects”.
Responding, the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Uyi Igbe said the House will expedite action on the project proposal. He noted that the governor’s reading of the project makes the first reading according to the Assembly rule.