By Tope Fayehun, Akure
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has presented a budget of N171 billion for the state’s 2018 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly.
Akeredolu, who tagged the appropriation bill as “Budget of Progress”, earmarked N81.521 billion for recurrent expenditure and N68.096 for capital expenditure.
He told members of the House that, “the budget reflects the collective aspiration of the people of the state, after having consulted widely with a view to incorporating the input of all stakeholders”.
The first since he assumed office in February 2017, Akeredolu said the budget captured the essence of his administration’s blueprint.
The governor added that the budget will achieve the programmes contained in his administration’s Strategic Development and Policy Implementation.
According to him, his administration will pursue activities targeted at encouraging productivities and creation of real opportunity for the people in the next fiscal year.
“Our sustained efforts will create wealth for our people,” Akeredolu said.
The governor, therefore, asked the state Assembly to give the budget realistic scrutiny before approval, as he praised the House for passing into law all the Public Financial Management law which had been pending before the House for six years.
He said: “The 2018 budget is designed to achieve stability, fiscal reprioritization and consolidation to create the base for sustainable growth and development.
“It is focused on reversing the growth of debt, unsustainable deficits and the burden of interest payments which is almost unsustainable.
“The 2018 budget estimates will focus on rebuilding the state’s economy through prioritized investment on infrastructural facility and agriculture-related activities.”
The governor consequently listed the objectives for the 2018 budget to include intensifying efforts on independent revenue initiatives, massive infrastructural development, wealth creation through empowerment of youths, artisans, farmers and market women; and enhancing the community development through improved collaboration with communities, among others.
On the revenue projection for the 2018, Akeredolu said his administration was mindful of the challenges posed by inadequate revenue to accomplish the budget’s objective, but stated that he had commissioned some consultants to complement the existing efforts on revenue generation and collection.
He said: “The expected increase in the contribution of independent revenue to total revenue cannot be achieved in a day and as such would be gradual. Hence, revenue inflow from the Federation Account will still contribute the larger portion of the total collectible revenue for the state.”
The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. David Oleyelogun, described the budget as life-touching document.
He promised the governor that the House would be given expeditious and necessary approval, adding that the House would support efforts aimed at implementing the budget for the benefit of the people of the state.
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