From ALOYSIUS ATTAH, Onitsha
Governor Peter Obi has presented an Appropriation Bill of N110.890 billion for 2013 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly. This represents an increase of 33.28 percent over the budget of the out-going year, which was N83.200 billion. The budget christened “Sixth Budget of Integrated Development,” has N70.895 billion for capital expenditure and N39.995 billion for recurrent expenditure.
According to Governor Obi, the state revenue earning for the fiscal year was projected at N66.500 billion, with the bulk coming from the state’s share of federation account amounting to N54.000 billion, representing 81.20 percent, while N12.500 billion, representing 18.80 percent was expected from the Internally Generated Revenue. The governor said emphasis would be on poverty reduction, while prioritisation of projects and programmes were the guiding principles in allocation of funds to each sector and sub-sector.
He explained that the budget reflected the critical development needs of the people of the state and was anchored on the need to intensify the ongoing reforms in the public financial sector. Going by sectoral allocation, the general administration, with N26.836 billion comes first, followed by the economic sector, with N22.966 billion; the social sector, with N13.562 billion and the environment sector, with N7.531 billion.
The governor explained the sizeable allocation to the economic sector as borne out of the capital intensive nature of its component sub-sectors such as land, transport (N16.172 billion); education (N10.224 billion); MDGs programme and projects across selected sub-sectors (N9.777 billion); finance and investment (N3.060 billion); environmental development, sewerage and drainage (N2.483 billion), water supply and resources (N2.470 billion); housing and urban development (N1.407 billion). In his budget speech, Obi said government would target constructing at least 100 kms of asphalted roads with drains and culverts in 2013.
“We shall continue to ensure that all communities are linked up to further boost socio economic activities,” he said. On housing, the governor said the state intended to partner with private sector in providing more residential accommodation to the people. He assured of number of “proposed housing estates and interventions.” As a means of attracting more industries to the state, the governor said the government would continue to improve the business climate while microfinance credit would be provided to viable financial institutions for on-lending to small and medium scale businesses within the real and productive sectors of the economy.
Several sums of money were equally mapped out for reactivation of the Greater Onitsha Water Scheme and other schemes, development of at least 300 hectares of tractorable land for crops production, training and post training assistance to unemployed and establishment of agro service providers, further development of the state university, two campuses at Uli and Igbariam as well as Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe and College of Agriculture, Mgbakwu, further rehabilitation of primary and secondary schools in the state, among others.
The speaker, state House of Assembly, Princess Chinwe Nwaebili, while receiving the budget referred it to the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation and directed the members to work through the Christmas holiday to ensure that the budget received accelerated hearing. and passage by January next year to enable the governor start work in earnest.
The Deputy Speaker, Prince Chukwudi Orizu commended the governor for successful implementation of the 2012 budget. Also speaking, the member representing Onitsha North one, Mr. Chigbo Enweozor assured that the Assembly would continue to support the governor to achieve the policy thrust of his administration to enable the state take its pride of place in anals of development. The appropriation bill passed through first reading at the floor of the House.