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2012: ELECHI'S BUDGET OF PRAGMATISM ON THE MOVE

By NBF News
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BY PETER OKUTU
THE Ebonyi state's 2012 budget has come under critical review by various segments and strata in the state. While a pocketful of the analysts are of the opinion that it was well modified to address the basic needs of the people of the State, some  believe that it was designed to spread across many sectors which would in the long run not make much tangible impact.

The State Governor, Chief Martin Elechi recently presented the budget outlay of N86, 986, 068, 160.00 to the State House of Assembly tagged 'budget of pragmatism'. The practical nature of the 2012 budget proposal is based on the critical challenges of Nigeria's 2011 budget implementation and  global economic realities.

While making the presentation, Elechi explained that the 2012 fiscal year is aimed at bringing in practical and concrete terms the dividend of democracy to the citizenry as was promised by the state government at the start of his second tenure last year. It was predicated on hopes and expectations of revenue that was matched with equal expectation of disbursing same for realization of the defined economic target.

Accordingly, the 2012 budget proposal is 18% higher than the 2011 revised budget. This is also the highest so far in the life of the present administration in the state as the recurrent revenue of N53, 258, 842, 230.00 accounts for 61.29% of the total revenue, while the balance of N33, 637, 225, 930.00 or 38.71% is expected from capital receipts. It is also noted that N200 million loan expected from the World Bank is the only deficit provision in the estimates.

The State share from the Federation Account is about 70% of the expected revenue of the year, while 8% will be sourced from grants from Local Governments in the State for financing State/Local Government joint projects, Federal and Donor Agencies. Three percent of the revenue is expected to come through the reimbursement of the State Government of  Excess Deductions made on the account of the State Bond issue.

Expenditure and personnel cost
The Governor stated that the Recurrent Expenditure of N40.67 billion, accounts for 40% of the total expenditure and Personnel Cost of N13.6 billion, represents 16%, while the Overhead Cost of N8.43 billion represents 10% and Consolidated Charges of N12.62 billion, represents 14% of the budget.

He said: 'The Capital Expenditure of N46.22 billion represents 53% of the proposed Budget. Its breakdown shows that Water Supply and Sanitation has the highest provision of N9.53 billion and accounts for 21% of the Capital Budget. Part of this money will complete the two water schemes at Oferekpe and Ukawu, procure electro-mechanical equipment for same and complete the ongoing pipe-laying from the Oferekpe Water Works to Abakaliki metropolis, which is the first phase of the water transmission programme.

The pipe-laying for water distribution in the entire State is currently estimated at 590km and will be taken in phases.'Roads and Electricity are allocated N9.34 billion or 20% of the budget. The remaining 2 bridges out of the 34 completed bridges at Agba and Egu-Uhuo respectively, both in Ishielu Local government area, are expected to be completed by February and April 2012, while the on-going road projects, most of which are nearing completion, are also supposed to be completed during this phase of road development programme.

Also, Comissioner for Finance and Economic Development, Barrister Timothy Odaah on the occasion of the 2012 Ebonyi state budget breakdown emphasized that the increase in this year's budget proposal was intended to ensure enough funds for the completion of all ongoing projects in the state.

He disclosed that on_going projects in the state, including reticulation of water from Operekpe and Ukawu Water schemes down to the state capital, construction of three rice clusters in the three senatorial zones, and 10.2 kilometre of road along Abakaliki-Enugu expressway among others would be completed in 2012 fiscal year.

He said: 'The projected Internally Generated Revenue for the year is N8, 134,250,030 as compared to the last year's figure at N4, 885,373,630. This gives 66% higher of the last year projected revenue. The reason for this increase is due to the digitalization and modernization of landed property documentation and the introduction of enhanced motor registration in the state and the plugging of leakages in the overall public administration.

'The Economic Sector has the highest allocation of N16, 845, 680, 000. In the Economic sector, Works and Transport subsector is allotted the highest sum of N7, 266, 000, 000 representing 43% of the sectoral allocation. This is aimed at completing most of the ongoing roads and bridge projects. This is followed by Energy and Power with the sum of N2, 069, 520, 000 representing 12% of the provision in the Economic Sector.

'An Appropriation of N7, 411, 700, 000.00 is provided for the capital projects that are peculiar to the three tiers of Government, the Executives, the Legislature and the Judiciary. N6, 373, 500, 000.00 is appropriated to the Executive. This represents 86% of the appropriated General Administration Fund.