By Festus Anon – Asaba
Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa presented an appropriation bill of N389,190,799,362 for 2020 fiscal year to the State House of Assembly.
The appropriation bill which was christened, “Budget of sustained development”, according to the Governor, recurrent expenditure has N171.5 billion estimate, representing 44%, while N217.6 billion representing 56% is for capital expenditures.
The 2020 State budget estimates is about N2 billion less than the 2019 state budget of N391 billion. Okowa said his administration’s commitment to building a stronger Delta remains the main thrust of the budget, assuring that the state would witness faster development.
Okowa explained that the 2020 revenue and expenditure estimates were based on a medium-term expenditure framework which projected $57 benchmark price for crude oil at production level of N2.18 million barrels per day, 10.36 per cent annual inflation, 3.6 per cent projected real IGP growth and exchange rate of N305 to the US dollar.
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According to Okowa, the proposed capital expenditure of N218 billion is made up of N12.3 billion for the administrative sector, N110.3 billion for Economic sector, N1.5 billion, Law and Justice sector, N43.7 billion, Regional Sector, N46.7 billion, social sector and N3 billion for contingency fund.
Fielding questions from newsmen shortly after presenting the 2020 budget proposals to the House, Okowa said the period he had challenges was between 2015 and 2017.
Okowa said: “The projected debt of the state is about N200 billion but we are spending a reasonable amount of money to service the debts, and that is not impinging on our ability to execute projects or pay salaries.
“The time we had challenges was 2015, 2016 and 2017. Right now we can comfortably pay back the debts on a monthly basis, have money for capital expenditure and be able to pay salaries. So we don’t have any issue”.
The Delta Governor maintained that the debts were not accumulated by the present administration, expressing confidence that any debt incurred since 2015 would be cleared before he leaves office in 2023.
In his remarks, Speaker of the House, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, said the 2020 budget of sustained development was another milestone in the rapid transformation and development that the state has witnessed since the beginning of the present administration.
Oborevwori expressed a belief that the revenue projection and the capital development proposals as outlined in the budget would impact the State economy and the general wellbeing of Deltans positively.
The Speaker said the House would not relent in scrutinising the budget in line with all the process of law-making for the peace, order and good government of the State.
He noted that the House was duty-bound to painstakingly look at the details of the budget for the purpose of transforming same for the benefit and aspiration of Deltans.