From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The Rivers State House of Assembly has passed the 2013 Appropriation Bill of N490.32 billion into law. Speaker of the House, Otelemaba Dan-Amachree, announced this yesterday after the Vice Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Tonye Harry, had presented the reports on the budget to the House. Dan-Amachree stated that N314. 2 billion would be for capital expenditure, while N176.1 was for recurrent expenditure.
He said there was no addition to the budget, as the government would embark on completion of its projects. The speaker had on Wednesday, while receiving reports on the appropriation bill from various committees’ chairmen stated that there would be no increase in the budget as usual. “This time around, the House will not be father Christmas as usual. We will not increase the budget. It must remain the way it is, that is N490.32 billion.
All the chairmen of the committees should bear in mind that there will be no increase. So, they must adhere to the allocation given to the various sectors.” The budget was N52.32 billion higher than 2012 appropriation, which was N438, indicating an increase of about 11.95 percent. Meanwhile, some chairmen of the committees, while presenting their reports, decried the deplorable state of some sectors, like health and information, emphasizing on the need to pay adequate attention to them. Daily Sun reports that no allocations were made to Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Bureau for Statistics, Public Private Partnership, new Rivers State University of Science and Technology and others.
It would be recalled that when the House commenced debate on the Appropriation Bill on January 9, many lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction over the 2013 budget of N490.32 billion, which was presented on December 24, 2012, by Governor Chibuike Amaechi. They argued that the budget did not capture some uncompleted projects, which were contained in the previous budget, and did not make provisions for issues like post-flood victims and maintenance of existing government schools.