From JOE EFFIONG, Uyo
Barring any adjustment by the State House of Assembly, Akwa Ibom State is to spend N459.305 billion in the 2013 fiscal year. This amount, which was presented to the State House of Assembly yesterday by Governor Godswill Akpabio, is, however, less than the 2012 revised appropriation which was N533.113 billion.
Akpabio told the legislators that the budget tagged: Budget of Industrialization and Consolidation, was predicated on oil benchmark of $75 per barrel at a production rate of 2.5 million barrels per day. The state is rated at the moment as the highest producer of crude oil in the country though most of its oil, including the 76 oil wells recently awarded to it by the Supreme Court, arising from litigation by the neighbouring Cross River State, come from offshore installations.
Only N118.79 billion of the budget is allocated to recurrent expenditure, while the remaining N304.515 billion is for capital projects and programmes, thus representing a recurrent-capital ratio of 1:3. Apparently trying to explain why there was no industrialization in 2012 which budget was tagged: Budget of Industrialization, the governor said; “We added industrialization because the industrialization projects that we enunciated in the 2012 budget will be pursued and consolidated to give the state an industrial boost, in addition, focus will be on completion of all ongoing projects across the state.”
He said the policy trust of the budget which economic development sector would take the lion share of N174.39 billion or 51 per cent of capital expenditure, would include improvement of standard of living of the people, development and implement action of strategic plans for the complete industrialization of the states, and the enhancement of employment generating capacity; and, optimization of sources of the key economic drivers, particularly agriculture and small-scale and medium-scale enterprises for real sector growth.
Akpabio also said the stare intended to develop strong sectoral linkages in the development processes, health, housing, housing, education, transport and sports, and would continue to intervene through the use of direct labour projects to sustain the pace of socio-economic transformation of the rural communities, satellite towns and the state capital.
While appealing to the legislature to give approval to the budget, the governor promised to faithfully implement it to the general benefit and happiness of the people “ as it is our profound desire to alleviate poverty, create wealth, generate employment, stimulate agricultural and industrial development and maximize the general wellbeing of all.” T
he speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr Sam Iko, while welcoming the governor to the House, commended him for the uncommon performance he had so far exhibited in the management of the affairs of the state. Ikon said Akpabio’s performance has not only made the people of the state proud but had also made the job of the members easier in dealing with their respective constituencies.