The Rivers State House of Assembly has passed the revised medium term expenditure framework forwarded to it by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. The response of the lawmakers on Friday, December 3, 2021 was sequel to fresh developments which altered the initial plan, including the stalling of the state’s collection of value added tax by the order of the Court of Appeal.
Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo, the same Friday appeared before the legislators to present a budget estimate of Four Hundred and Eighty-three billion, one hundred and seventy-three million, three hundred and seven thousand, ninety-six Naira (N483,173, 307,096.00) for 2022 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly for consideration.
He said the policy thrusts for the 2022 Appropriation bill christened, “Budget of Consolidation,” will focus on the State’s quest for greater economic growth and fiscal consolidation, enhancing jobs and wealth creation, building first-rate economic infrastructure, and achieving equity and social protection through poverty reduction and economic inclusiveness.
The governor, who gave the assurance while presenting the 2022 appropriation bill, said his administration succeeded significantly in managing the resources of the state by building a strong economy in relative to most other States of the federation.
According to him, real tangible growth figures were also posted consistently, which is in excess of 5 per cent year-in-year-out, especially for the last two years.
“Within Nigeria, our economy is not only stronger than 90 percent of the other States; it has continued to perform better than most others in terms of real economic growth, fiscal consolidation, debt-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio and Internal Revenue Generation.
“The 2022 budget is crafted within the framework of the State’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework, the State’s Economic Strategy Paper, the national economic outlook and the State’s economic growth projections coupled with the various development instruments and programmes.”
Governor Wike said the projected recurrent expenditure is One Hundred and Forty-Four Billion, Seven Hundred and Sixty-Four Million, Eight Hundred and Eighteen Thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventy-Seven Naira (N144, 764,818,977.00), which represents about 30 per cent of the total budget size for 2022 fiscal year.
According to him, the projected estimates for capital expenditure is Three Hundred and Fourteen Billion, Nine Hundred and Three Million, One Hundred and Eighty Thousand, One Hundred and Sixteen Naira (314, 903,108,116.00), which represents about 65 per cent of the total budget size.
The governor stated that the 2022 budget is pegged on the assumptions of the crude oil bench mark of USD 50 per barrel, National crude oil production estimates of 1.7 million barrel per day; Currency exchange rate of N410 to the Dollar; Gross Domestic Product growth rate of between 3 per cent for the medium term; and Inflation rate of 13.5 per cent.
“Although this is yet another ambitious projection given the challenges of the national economy, we believe we would be able to successfully implement the capital because it is backed by a concrete plan of action and within achievable limits.”
Governor Wike explained that over half of the capital budget estimate is targeted at the economic and social sectors.
He listed the main items of the scheduled capital spending in the 2022 budget to include Agriculture, Roads, Bridges, Healthcare, Education, Social Welfare, Justice Delivery, Sports, Youth and Women Empowerment and Human Security.
These, he said, would invariably lead to generating real economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction and improvements in the living standards of citizens.
Governor Wike acknowledged that his administration inherited some agricultural assets, including hundreds of hectares of uncultivated lands, abandoned livestock infrastructure, fish farms, banana plantations and the Shonghai initiative.
“But none was backed by reasonable policy, investment and sustainability frameworks. Little wonder, they all readily failed and palled to nothing as ill-conceived fanciful ideas and programmes.
“We have therefore decided to make agriculture part of our engines for sustainable economic growth and development by support our people to move beyond subsistent levels of production.
“Our approach is to de-emphasize the direct participation of the State Government in agriculture and encourage the private to take the lead.
“We have provided the sum of N16, 937,632,000.00 in the 2022 capital budget to revitalize, stimulate and grow the agricultural sector in the State.”
In the justice sector, Governor Wike said the sum of N2,256,928,022.80 has been earmarked as additional resources to improve efficiency of the sector.
The sum, he maintained, will fund the State Judiciary’s action plan for 2022 that include the construction of the new Magistrate Court’s Complex in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Judicial Institute and the South-South Zonal Headquarters of the Federal Judicial Service Commission.
He said the 2022 budget is also expected to further strengthen the health sector such that citizens are healthy with immediate access to affordable quality primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services and support.
Reflecting on how the 2021 budget of N448.6B performed, Governor Wike said its implementation was very impressive with over eighty percent performance.
“As at end of October 2021, total net revenue receipts was three hundred and ninety-one billion, three hundred and twenty-five million, two hundred and seventy thousand, two hundred and six naira (N391,325,270,206.), only which represents over 87 percent overall performance on the revenue side.”
Governor Wike urged the Supreme Court to expedite the trial of the Value Added Tax suit between the Rivers State government and the Federal Government.
“In anticipation of our victory we are continuing with our plan to integrate the VAT into our mainstream tax operations and strengthen the capacity of the RSIRS to effectively administer this head of tax when the responsibility comes.”
He said the administration shall complete the following roads, flyovers and other projects in the 2022 fiscal year.
“The Abali flyover, Rumukalagbor flyover, Nkpolu flyover, Rumuepirikom flyover and Elimgbu-Rumuokrushe flyover; the dualization of Ogbunuabali road, the dualization of Eastern bypass road; the dualization of Egbema – Omoku road; Trans-Kalabari road (phase one), the dualization of Ahoada – Omoku road (phase one); the dualization of Bori-Kono road and the dualization of Chokocho – Okehi – Igbodo road.
“Ogu – Ekporo –Kpogor-Wakama link road; Akpabu – Omudioga – Egbeda road; Rumuodogo 1 & 2 roads; Omoku-Aligwu-Kreigani-Oduoboburu road; Mgbuosimini – Nkpor – Mgbuodohia roads; Okochiri internal roads, phase 2; Omerulu community internal roads; Nchia internal roads; Igwuruta community internal roads; Abonnema/Obonnoma Sandfilling and reclamation; Bakana sandfilling and reclamation; Okrika sandfilling and reclamation;
The new Government jetty at Marine base, Port Harcourt; Chokocho Igbodo road; Oyigbo – Okoloma road; Rumuesara – Eneka road; and Ogu/Bolo sandfilling.”
Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani noted the audacity of the 2021 Appropriation Bill that seeks to consolidate ongoing development as championed by Governor Wike.
He said all the members of Rivers State House of Assembly know the exact projects and services that are provided by the Wike administration for the good of the state and its people.
“No one is in doubt that what you have presented before the Rivers State House of Assembly is not realisable. It is a realistic and realisable budget and this has been your established pattern for the six years going seven years that you have mounted the leadership stage in the state.”