From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday presented N510 billion 2018 Appropriation Bill to the House of Assembly.
Presenting the bill, Wike said the budget christened: “Budget of consolidation, advancement and empowerment,” would consolidate and advance the state’s investments in infrastructure, education, healthcare and security as well as in growing the economy to create jobs and empower the people.
The governor said the proposed 2018 budget has N379,997,687,404.00 as capital expenditure, while N132 billion would be used for recurrent expenditure.
He said: “This gives a capital to recurrent expenditure ratio of 75 to 25 percent. The substantial increase in capital over recurrent expenditure, once again, underscores our commitment to direct substantial resources to the critical growth sectors of our economy.”
Wike further said the budget would be funded from Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) N40 billion; 13 percent oil minerals N120 billion fund, N6 billion VAT, N132 billion Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), N70 billion reimbursements, N70 billion domestic/international credit and N20 billion capital receipts .
The governor stated that a total portfolio of N90 billion and N35 billion have been allocated to the Ministry of Works and the Special Projects Bureau, respectively, to fund the delivery of capital projects in the 2018 budget.
He said the administration is committed to the completion of key projects in different parts of the state.
The projects, according to him, include dualisation of Saakpenwa-Bori road; dualisation of Slaughter-Trans Amadi – Garrison road; dualisation of Elelenwo-Akpajo road; dualisation of Oil Mill-Woji-Elelenwo-Akpajo road, dualisation of Professor Tam David West (Obiriikwerre-Airport) road; the Andoni-Opobo (Unity) road and Internal road network in Abonnema in Akuku Toru Local Government Area, Amadi-Ama in Port Harcourt Local Government Area, Okochiri in Okrika Local Government Area, Elele and Isiokpo in Ikwerre Local Government Area, among others.
Other key projects also earmarked for delivery in 2018 are Bonny-Bile Waterside Jetty; Mile One Market, phase 2; reclamation works in Abalama in Asari Toru Local Government Area, Ogu town in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area, Bakana in Degema Local Government Area and Ogbumnabali in Port Harcourt council; constituency projects; Real Madrid Football Academy; luxury living quarters for judicial officers and the cinema as well as restaurant project in the Pleasure Park.
“We shall also start some new projects, including the Women Development Centre, the new world-class international conference centre, and roads.
“We are devoting N50 billion to fund the education sector for the 2018 fiscal year. This sum is N20 billion more than that of 2017. In addition, we have proposed a capital grant of N500 million to each of our tertiary institutions to bolster infrastructure development and improve quality.
“Apart from proposing N2 billion for the provision of scholarships for critical areas of the state’s manpower needs, we have also proposed to set aside another N2 billion to partner, encourage and support the development of private universities and improve access to tertiary education for Rivers indigenes,” he said.