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Budget: Obaseki prioritises take-off of multi-campus Agric College, start-ups, erosion

With the 2019 budget of the Edo State Government duly signed into law by Governor Godwin Obaseki in late 2018, work has commenced on a number of projects and initiatives through which the government intends to create wealth, boost investment and improve the wellbeing of the people of the state.

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, signing the 2019 appropriation bill into law at Government House in Benin City, on Wednesday, December 19, 2018. He is flanked by his deputy, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu (3rd right); Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Kabiru Adjoto (3rd left); deputy speaker, EDHA, Hon. Justice Okonobo (left); Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Taiwo Akerele (2nd right); Majority Leader, EDHA, Hon. Roland Asoro (2nd left); EDHA Member representing Etsako Central, Hon. Lawani Damian (4th left); Commissioner for Budget, Hajiya Maryam Abubakar (4th right); and Commissioner for Finance, Hon. John Osagie Inegbedion (right).

A peek at the approved budget shows that the government is pursuing a number of new projects and continuing on a couple of old ones, with focus on infrastructural development, health care, education and investment, amongst others.

Recall that during the presentation of the budget to the Edo State House of Assembly, Obaseki said, “the 2019 budget proposal “Reflects this administration’s intention to promote social inclusion and economic empowerment for Edo citizens, through the strengthening of structures that support, governance and security infrastructure; and through the implementation of initiatives that guarantee equal access to education, health care and social protection.

He highlighted the focus of the state’s 2019 budget proposal as: Continued investment in the rehabilitation of existing (and the development of new) socio-economic infrastructure; Strengthen internal capacity for project execution and governance; Scale up investments in socio-welfare enhancement programmes (in education, healthcare and rural development); Continued investment in programmes/projects for job creation, particularly through Industrialisation, Agriculture, and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) development as well as enhanced investment in Security and Administration of Justice.”

Key among the projects lined up for the year are; the take-off of the multi-campus College of Agriculture in Uromi, Agenebode and Iguoriakhi; Erosion Control project with the Benin City Water Storm Master Plan; training of start-ups for increased productivity in the innovation technology sector as well as the development of Benin River Port, Gelegele; Benin Industrial Park and Free Trade Zone.

“In the 2019 approved budget, the Ministry of Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment will partner with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to train start-ups to benefit from the booming technology ecosystem in the state.”

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For agriculture, there is provision for Administrative and Academic Buildings, Auditorium, Laboratories, Libraries, Perimeter Fencing at Iguoriakhi, Agenebode and Uromi; treatment of water facilities at the campuses as well as the development work at the three campuses, which are scheduled to commence academic activities this year.

The colleges are a product of the state governor’s ongoing revamp of the college of Agriculture Iguoriakhi, after it was closed due to mismanagement.

On the water storm project, there are provisions in the 2019 budget for communities that have suffered erosion for some years now, including gully reclamation/Flood and erosion control works in Obaseki, Edokpolor Factory Road (Jemila) and environs, Oregbeni quarters, Benin City; Erosion Control/Construction of HRH Bako (JP) street and spur, Utehne Urekpoki Community, Benin City; Gully reclamation/Flood and control works in Ekhaguere street and environs, Iwogban Quarters, Benin City; Reconstruction of discharge canal Upper Lawani Street (1.42km) with service road and retaining wall and palliative measure proposal to control flooding at S&T Barracks, Isihor, Benin City, among others.

There are also provisions for access road to the Benin Industrial Park and Free Trade Zone, the development of industrial clusters across the state, as well as the development of the Benin River port, which would boost investments in the state.

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