By Anayo Okoli

Umuahia—GOVERNOR Theodore Orji of Abia State, yesterday presented the 2010 state budget proposal of N60.70 billion to the State House of Assembly for consideration. The budget proposal represents a 28% increase from the 2009 figure of N55.52 billion.

Orji said that the 2009 budget suffered a serious setback because of the global economic recession, which he said affected both the Federal and State governments. According to him, the 2010 budget will eliminate waste.

Presenting the budget tagged “Peoples Oriented Budget,” to the state lawmakers, Governor Orji,  said  “there will be intensive revenue drive and widening of the state’s revenue base to enhance our IGR, so as to ensure adequate funding of government activities that could be unduly affected by huge external and domestic debt service burden and declining state’s statutory allocation from federation allocation.”

To this end, the Governor said the target for internally generated revenue for 2010 is N9.39 billion,  against  N6.8 billion target of  2009.

Also, Orji announced that the state expects from the federation account in 2010, the sum of N37.2 billion, adding that the state hopes to generate N5 billion from value added tax  and N3.95 billion from oil derivation.

The Governor’s budget speech has cheering news for the teachers in the state, as he promised that 27% salary increase across board would be implemented in 2010. “Government had concluded plans and arrangement to implement the 27% salary increase across board for teachers under the Teachers Salary Structure (TSS).”

The Governor also said that agriculture, education, information and culture, works and transport would be given adequate attention in 2010.

The budget, he said will be pursued in a manner to consolidate the gains the government had made so far.

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