The reconstituted State Executive Council approved the budget at its maiden meeting presided by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in Asaba on Friday.
Briefing newsmen on the outcome of the meeting, the Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr. Barry Gbe, said that the council approved the proposal after due consideration of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF and FSP) in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Law 2020.
Gbe stated that his ministry had proposed a budget of N388 billion for the period but that the figure was jerked up by the council to accommodate other matters not envisaged earlier.
According to him, after deliberations, debates and a deeper look into what 2022 should look like, in its wisdom, the State Executive Council increased the N388 billion that was recommended to N425 billion.
“Gbe, however, disclosed that the N425 budget was “indicative”, saying “it is not full and final.
“So, we will be going to the House of Assembly with an indicative figure of N425 billion as a total budget size for 2022.
“The micro economic indicators that informed the indicative 2022 budget was a deliberate adoption of the Federal Government MTEF and FSP where they planned crude oil to be sold at 57 dollars per barrel in 2022, with daily production of oil at 1.88 million barrels and exchange rate of N410 to the dollar.
“These are the indicative figures that made up the micro economic framework of the Federal Government and that is what we also used in our projections.
“However, the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) which for 2021 half year was put at N35 billion is to be scaled up through what we are trying to put in the informal sector so that we can become a little ambitious and then increase it from the N65 billion plus of 2021 to doing N75 billion in 2022.
“We also try to scale down what we called net financing which is to say that we don’t need to borrow much to increase the revenue side of our 2022 budget. However, in our intention to finish strong, we felt that there would be need to also maintain some figures around net financing.
“So, the revenue side of the budget for 2022 will be adequately funded through the statutory allocation, the IGR of the state, grants that we expect from donor agencies and multilateral agencies like the World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF and some others that might likely come up,” he added.
The commissioner stated that the executive council also projected that the capital expenditure side shoud be higher than the recurrent expenditure side of the budget.
According to him, the state government will be doing a 56/44 ratio distribution between capital and recurrent expenditures to enable it finish ongoing capital projects in 2022.
In his contribution, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, disclosed that the council approved the construction of Amoro Street which is about 756 meters in Enerhen in Uvwie Local Government Area.
He said that Osamor Street in Ika North-East and Ozu/Onyia/Ogbe streets in Ekuku-Agbor in Ika South and the Okpolo/Owien Road in Isoko South were also approved for construction.
Aniagwu stated that a high-powered committee headed by the Deputy Governor had been set up to look into issues of sanitation in the state, adding that the committee was expected to come up with recommendations on certain steps to be taken to ensure the maintenance of a more healthy environment.
“A memo was also brought forward by the Warri/Uvwie and Environs Development Agency on the account of the amount of storm water drainage that is being constructed by the agency for the purpose of increasing the spate of work and also including certain aspects of phase lll and phase lV.
“You will recall that we have started the construction of the project in phase l and phase ll but in the course of the progress on that work, it was discovered that there is need to address certain areas in phases lll and lV because the return of the rains has shown that if those areas were not done, it will affect what is being done in phase l and phase ll. So, that addendum was brought forward for approval by the council.
“The EXCO approved the UTM Offshore Limited for Delta and that is for us to invest in floating liquified natural gas project and EXCO approved that because it is believed that this investment will not only protect our future, but it is an investment that will, to a very large extent, give us opportunities to create more jobs for our people.
“This is an investment that the private sector is very much involved in and we are quite optimistic that, given the enormous natural gas in our state, it is something that is worth investing,” he said.
The commissioner pointed out that approval for the commencement of procurement of medical equipment at the Advanced Diagnostic Centre as well as the Mother and Child Centre in Owa-Alero was also given to help advance health care delivery system in the state.
He also said that the appointment of the Pere of Isaba, Theophilus Nderekeme, was approved, adding that the approval took effect from December, 2021, when he was installed by the traditional institutions in Isaba in Warri South West Local.
On housing development, the Commissioner for Housing, Chief Festus Ochonogor, said that the council approved the commencement of Delta State Social Housing Development Programme, a pilot scheme targeted at providing accessible and affordable houses for the low and medium income households in the state.
Ochonogor disclosed that the pilot scheme would commence in three locations at Owa-Oyibu, Kwale and Ozoro, and that the Ministry of Lands had been directed by EXCO to discuss with communities in Delta Central with a view to getting unencumbered land that would enable his ministry to start the programme.
“We are also intensifying efforts in the supervision of projects, particularly with respect to three newly-established universities in the state, to enable them start seamless academic activities,” he added.