Three state governors, Dr. Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu (Niger) and Mr. Sullivan Chime (Enugu), yesterday presented their 2014 budget proposals before their state Houses of Assembly, with a pledge to consolidate on the infrastructure, economic and developmental policies of their administrations.
While Fayemi presented a budget proposal of N103.882 billion, with the infrastructure sector taking the lion share of N17.2 billion, Aliyu said priority would “be given to education, agriculture, health and infrastructure, housing and transportation sectors with a view to fast-tracking the attainment of Vision 3:20:20 in the N98,852,343,536.00 budget.” Chime said the budget. (N93.287 billion) was higher than the 2013 budget size of N83.8 billion by N9.1 billion representing 11 per cent increase.
In his presentation, Fayemi described the budget as 'Budget of Stability and Growth,' stressing that N50,106,166 billion was apportioned as recurrent expenditure, representing 48.2 per cent, while a staggering sum of N52, 776, 226 billion, representing 51.8 per cent, stated that was earmarked for capital expenditure.
The governor, who said the budget was a product of the town hall meetings he had with all the residents of the 131 communities in the state, which he concluded recently, said the people’s demands during the interactions were factored into the financial analysis in line with his vision to entrench good governance in the state.
Fayemi, who also noted that “the implementations of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 budget estimates were encouraging,” said: in 2011, we recorded 73 per cent performance, while that of 2012 was 89 per cent. But the current 2013 budget in operation stands at 64 per cent and this is due to shortfall in the revenues into the state from the Federal Allocation.”
Similarly, Aliyu, who said the total estimated revenue for the 2014 financial year was put at N98, 852,343,536 aligned himself with the House of Representatives’ benchmark of $79 for the calculation of the sale of crude oil in the 2014 fiscal year.
He maintained that $79 to a barrel of crude oil was the most ideal amount to be used for the calculation of the sale of oil by the country next year.
According to him, since the present administration came on board seven years ago, the price of crude oil in the international market had never risen above $70 to a barrel of crude oil, which is why asking for a lower benchmark would be putting too much money in the excess crude oil account.
“There will be too much money in the excess crude oil account if the demand of the federal government is meant, states and local governments in the country are suffering, we are happy with the position of the House of Representatives left to states, we need $85 as benchmark,” the governor declared.
On his part, Chime said prudence would remain the guiding principle in the implementation of the 2014 budget, which was tagged: 'Budget of Actualisation',
He said the state government would strive to leverage on the state’s revenue sources, create an investor-friendly climate and curb revenue leakages through pay-direct system on all government transactions.
In 2014, for instance, he said emphasis would be focused on completing ongoing projects, while considering new ones that would be vital to the development agenda of the state and in line with the Visit-Every-Community document.
Chime said the budget proposal would also help the administration consolidate on the gains of the past six-and-a-half years, maintain service delivery to the people and lay a solid foundation for the next administration.
He said his major priority would be to complete ongoing urban and rural roads, some of which are being done in partnership with the affected councils on a 70:30 ration.
Some of the roads include Ugwuogo-Neke-Ikem, Amaetiti-Achi-Inyi-Awlaw, Nguru-Ede Oballa-Eha Alumona, Eke-Ebe-Egede-Akpakume Nze-Nkpologu, Akpasha-Ozalla-Agbogugu-Ihe-Owelli-Awgu, Nsukka-Ogrutte-Ette among others.
“This is not just a promise, it’s our responsibility. Therefore, in our common pursuit of a better Enugu State for all, I want to reassure our people that better days lie ahead,” he said.