By Oswald Agwu
Capital expenditure has been given prominence by the Ebonyi State governor, Engineer David Umahi in the 2020 appropriation bill, which he presented to the Ebonyi State House Assembly, in Abakaliki, last week.
Governor Umahi of Ebonyi State presented an appropriation Bill of one hundred and seventy-eight billion, one hundred and thirty-six million, six hundred and thirty- four thousand, nine hundred and seventy-five naira, thirty- eight kobo.
The total Appropriation Bill was little lower than that of last year which was N188.104 billion.
Capital Expenditure was assigned the greater 94.13 per cent, amounting to One hundred and thirty-two billion, and fifty-six million, One hundred and seventeen thousand, Nine hundred and eighty-five naira, thirty-eight Kobo (N132,056,170,985.38).
Performing the assignment last Friday inside the hallowed Chambers of the Assembly complex at Nkaliki road, Abakaliki, Governor Umahi expressed gratitude to God for the performance of the 2019 budget, which he put at over 50 per cent.
He further appreciated the House of Assembly for their utmost cooperation and collaboration which have brought about smooth running of government business and it’s resultant peace and tremendous all-round development.
He recounted his administration’s achievements since 2015, laying emphasis on the areas of Agriculture, Solid mineral development, Education, health, human capital development, welfare , security, among others, adding that the 2019 budget tagged ‘Budget of Divine Fulfillment’ saw the fulfillment of the five fold divine covenant upon which his administration was founded.
He enumerated in concrete terms, the World-class Ecumenical Centre, the International Shopping Mall, International Market, urban and rural infrastructure as well as economic emancipation of citizens; increased political appointments and participation of citizens, completion of the Ebonyi School of Nursing, Uburu, among others as the highlights of the budget performance.
Umahi emphasized that his administration has followed the principle of equity, fairness and justice in the allocation of scarce resources of the State for overall well-being of all sections.
He said :”We received ninety four billion, and sixty eight million, three hundred and sixty eight thousand naira (N94,068,368,000) of capital receipts as against the total projected receipts of N188,401,713,868.
“This is however 50% budget performance.
“Major shortfall in our projected receipts in 2019 was due to the inability of the ring road project to take off which had a Capital Budget of N45billion but definitely the project shall commence in 2020.
Breaking down further the 2020 appropriation Bill tagged: Budget of Growth, Consolidation and Transformation, the Governor also allocated forty billion, eighty million, five hundred and sixteen thousand, nine hundred and ninety naira, four Kobo (N40,080,516,990.04) to recurrent expenditure representing 25.87 per cent of the total appropriation.
Umahi further explained: “Spending on Capital budget has been prioritized in favour of critical on-going projects.
“A look at the budget proposal shows that Health, Education, Works, Security, Infrastructure, Agriculture and Human Capital Development and Commerce and Industry will be accorded priority in this 2020 budget.
“While Works and Infrastructure for Concession will receive a total of Fifty Four Billion, One Hundred and Twenty Five Million and Eighty Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Sixty Eight Naira, Forty Eight Kobo (N54,125,083,468.48) or 30.38% of the total budget sum, Education will receive a total of Twenty Seven Billion, and Ninety Seven Million, Two Hundred and Sixty Two Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty Eight Naira Sixty Nine Kobo (N27,097,262,388.69) or 15.21% of the total budget sum.
“Similarly, Health will receive a total of Fifteen Billion, Four Hundred and Sixty-Six Million, Five Hundred and Forty One Thousand Six Hundred and Three Naira Eighty Five Kobo (N15,466,541,603.85) or 8.68% of the total budget.
“Human Capital Development and Commerce and Industry will jointly receive the sum of Eight Billion and Sixteen Million, Eighty Eight Thousand Three Hundred and Twenty Four Naira Seventy Kobo (N 8,016,088,324.70) or 4.50% of the total sum.
“Agriculture will receive Three Billion, Seven Hundred and Sixty Nine Million, Seven Hundred and Forty Two Thousand, Seven Hundred and Ten Naira Sixty Five (N3,769,742,710.65) or 2.13% of the budget.
“Security will receive Two Billion, Six Hundred and Seventy five Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N2,675,500,000) or 1.5% of the budget sum, making a total of One Hundred and Eleven Billion, One Hundred and Fifty Million, Two Hundred and Eighteen Thousand Four Hundred and Ninety Six Naira Thirty Seven Kobo (N 111,150,218,496.37) or 62.40% of the budget sum allocated to the 6 critical sub-sectors.
“In Education, we shall inject N7.6 billion in construction and renovation of schools, across 171 wards of the state, we shall equip our schools and construct modern library and e-learning facilities for students.
“We shall embark on comprehensive training and retraining of teachers to enhance their knowledge and teaching skills.
“The four vocational institutes namely: The King David Gifted Children Academy, Vocational college, Vocational Agric Training Institute and The Tehilla Adult Education School shall be adequately funded and they shall be a spring board for economic development in the state.
“Funding shall also go to School Agricultural programme which Ebonyi State is the first to introduce.
“Sports Development and technical education shall receive full attention. Our commitment towards minimum wage for our Civil servants is unwavering.
“We shall prioritize funding on the minimum wage and also introduce incentive based programmes to motivate and reward our civil servants especially our teachers.
“In our bid to bequeath a functional and effective health care and drive a preventive and rural based health care system, we are building a world class State University Teaching Hospital. Construction work has started, but we shall increase funding this coming year.
“The 13 General Hospitals and 178 Primary Health Care Centres shall receive increased funding.
“We shall increase our commitment on the implementation of the Health Insurance Scheme and make it more beneficial to our civil servants.
“We shall increase funding to complete on-going flyover construction work at Ezzamgbo junction, Uburu College of Medicine junction and Abaomege which have reached advanced stage.
“We shall inject funds in the dualization of the major highways including Abakaliki-Enugu road, Abakaliki-Afikpo road.
“We shall construct more flyovers in major junctions including Waterworks, Vanco, Onueke, Amasiri, Uburu and Nkalagu junctions. We shall inject more funds to the Airport and stadium projects which we have already started.
“Our administration is committed to constructing eight (8) more flyovers, some of which we have started in earnest.
“We shall pay more attention to Human Capital Development through exposing our youths, women, widows, professionals to entrepreneurship and vocational programmes.
“We shall promote industrialization through funding of micro, small and medium scale enterprises.
“We shall pay all necessary counterpart contributions to engage development partners and donor agencies in the empowerment of our people.
“We shall increase funding for security infrastructure.
“We shall install CCTV Camera in all Headquarters of the Local Government Areas.
“We shall aggressively pursue dry season farming, procure more machines and engage more farmers in modern farming.
“Note that we have made our projected revenue earning to equal our projected expenditure for 2020.
“We have religiously followed the content and spirit of the various appropriation laws made by this Honourable House and we have also followed up the execution of our projects and programmes with sincerity of purpose and commitment to the ideals of our administration and principles of good governance.
We have pursued the path of quality assurance, prudence in resource allocation and management, vigour in monitoring and evaluation, selflessness in service delivery, equity and equality in the distribution of the democratic dividends.
“We have shown compassion to the neglected and downtrodden and forthrightness in the creation of institutional and legislative roadmap for the socio-economic emancipation of our people.
“While receiving the Governor, Speaker, Francis Nwifuru eulogised the Governor for the proper, useful and sustainable manner he had allocated the meagre resources of the State for overall development.
While describing the presentation as apt, he observed the appropriation Bill as “Citizens’ Budget”, pledging that the House would, as usual, give it accelerated attention to ensure that the wheel of development in the State would continue to be lubricated.
In thanking the Governor for his approval of their medical trip to the United Arab Emirate and other welfare packages, Nwifuru asked for upwards review of overhead for the Assembly,as well as construction of Speaker’s new residence.
The budget was accepted for deliberation following a motion moved by the House Leader, Victor Chukwu and seconded by Chinwe Nwachukwu representing Ohaozara East State constituency.
The budget passed first reading and second reading at the floor of the House before adjournment of siting.