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By NBF News
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Edo State Government yesterday announced a budget estimate of N105.994 billion for the 2011 fiscal year. Presenting the budget to the state House of Assembly, Governor Adams Oshiomhole said the budget was made up of capital expenditure of N61.772 billion and a recurrent expenditure of N44.222 billion.

According to the governor, the budget size of N105.994 billion exceeded the 2010 budget by N4.029 billion, representing 3.95 per cent.

He said the sum of N66.187 billion of the budget was proposed as recurrent revenue to be financed from N18.5 billion Internal Generated Revenue; N43.6 billion Statutory Allocation and N4 billion excess crude and others.

Other sources for funding the budget, according to Oshiomhole, include N7.44 billion VAT; N11.81 grants; N7.5 billion World Bank Budget support; N4.04 internal loans; and N3.16 billion sundry sources. The governor said the projected Internal Generated Revenue of N18.5 billion represents a marginal increase of 2.78 per cent over the 2010 budget, and served notice that the state government would be more aggressive in tax collection next year. He, therefore, stated that the government would prosecute and jail anyone who refused to pay tax.

Governor Oshiomhole said the priority areas of the capital estimate for the 2011 budget, which account for 65 per cent, are roads, flood and erosion control, and primary and secondary education.

Specifically, Oshiomhole announced that total sum of N6 billion had been allocated for overall infrastructural development and rehabilitation in the education sector. A breakdown of the figure shows that the sum of N2 billion had been earmarked for school rehabilitation programmes covering senior secondary schools across the 18 local government areas of the state; N2 billion for the construction of three comprehensive model boarding secondary schools; N1.5 billion for the second phase of the construction and rehabilitation of primary schools; N400 million for capital projects in junior secondary schools and capital allocation of N500 million for the completion of abandoned administrative blocks at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, and building of male and female hostels at the institution.

Oshiomhole also announced a budget provision of N1.8 billion for the health sector in the state, adding that the Central Hospital, Benin would be rebuilt into a comprehensive model health institution.

Earlier, while reviewing the 2010 budget, the governor, who reflected on the security situation in the state, announced that the state government had secured the consent of the Federal Government for the military to return to the joint patrol of the state with the police, adding that Operation Tunderstorm which was earlier disbanded would be restored in the next couple of weeks.

Governor Oshiomhole who regretted continued cases of kidnap and other violent crimes in the state, pointed out that the prevalence of these crimes was not as a result of lack of support for security agencies in the state, as his administration had provided 100 unit of vehicles and communication equipment worth over N200 million to support security outfits in the state.