• Says funds have been earmarked to fully complete the state’s airport project

From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti

The Special Adviser to Governor Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State on Budget, Economic Planning and Performance Management, Mr Niyi Adebayo, has said the Oyebanji administration is committed to engendering the growth of the state’s economy and improving the well-being of the people of the state.

The governor’s aide made the remarks while presenting the breakdown and analysis of the N113.5 billion 2023 budget in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital on Monday.

In the budget christened ‘Budget of Strong Beginning ‘, the governor’s aide explained that the appropriation was prepared with inputs from the residents during the town hall meetings towards a solid foundation for the administration.

He added that the government adopted a zero-based budgeting approach in putting it together, saying that the recently launched 30-year-old development plan formed the basis for sectoral allocations to achieve the six-point agenda of the administration.

In the breakdown of the budget, he said that recurrent expenditure is put at N79.5 billion and the capital expenditure will gulp N34 billion, noting that the government would place emphasis on human capital development in order to ensure youth development and job creation.

He said, “ On youth development and job creation, there will be MSMEs economic recovery programmes, grassroots development and provision of vocational tools.

“On infrastructure and industrial development, there will be the construction of Atlas, Ajebamidele, Deeper life, Alasia shepherd road all in Ado-Ekiti among other road construction across the state.

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“This administration is committed to fiscal responsibility and transparency. The government is also committed to engendering the growth of the state’s economy and improving the well-being of Ekiti indigenes and residents.

“We will actively pursue the six-pillar agenda and maintain our philosophy of shared prosperity. Efforts have been made to address all sectors in the budget within the limits of resource constraints facing the state.”

Responding to questions on the state of the airport, Adebayo revealed that basic facilities and equipment are still missing in the state’s airport commissioned last year.

The immediate past governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi alongside the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika had on October 15, 2022, commissioned the agro-allied airport located along Ado-Ijan-Ekiti road amidst pomp and commendations.

The Special Adviser, who explained that as of now only military aircraft could land in the airport, adding that the control tower, passenger terminal and runaway were yet to be fully completed, noted that funds for further work on the airport which is designed to airlift the agricultural potentials of the state to the world and stimulate economic growth had been earmarked.

The governor’s aide said, “We can only land the military aircraft because we don’t have the full work of navigational aids. The military aircraft can land with little or no air from the control tower. So, we need to have a functional control tower, and build a new terminal where passengers can wait to board the plane. So, those are the expenditure we need in the new year; but the runway is very good.

“ And of course, we need to provide necessary lighting infrastructures, so that planes can land in the evening, even daytime when you have foggy situation because light helps the pilot to see the runway better. So, those are the areas where expenditure needs to go into.”

“ We are trying to ensure when the airport comes on stream is actually useful to ensure the airport serves us well with minimal disruption to fly.”