Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Wednesday, presented the 2021 appropriation bill of over four hundred and forty-eight billion naira on the floor of the state House of Assembly.
However, DAILY POST observed that there was no mention of the intention of the Rivers State government to implement the agreement with the organised labour on consequential salary adjustment based on the new national minimum wage and to implement the annual salary increment in the state.
The Comrade Ayuba Wabba-led Organised Labour in Nigeria had in August, 2020 tasked Governor Wike to conclude and sign a negotiated agreement with the Organised Labour on the national minimum wage and other demands of Labour.
While the full details of the Rivers State 2021 Appropriation bill are yet to be made public, the summary presentation of the budget by Governor Wike Wednesday had no mention of addressing the concerns of organised labour in the state.
However, according to the Governor, about three hundred and five billion naira is earmarked for capital expenditure while about one hundred and forty-two billion naira is for recurrent expenditure.
The Governor said the budget christened; “Budget of Recovery and Consolidation” represents over 20 per cent increase from the 2020 revised budget of three hundred billion naira.
He also noted that the increase in the recurrent budget follows the need to eradicate poverty which is often achieved through government spending.
He said the capital expenditure, representing 68.18% of the total budget size, constituted as follows: Administrative sector N 87, 790,330,011.37; Economic sector N 105,077,364,248,.81; Law and Justice N1,742,996,000.00; Social sector – N 132, 656,033,322.35 and Deductions/Loan repayments N38,000,000,000.00.
The governor explained that the capital budget will be deployed to advance economic growth and social progress by targeting and prioritizing investments.
He said the sum of N82,957,295,248.81 has been provided for the provision of infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and completion of flyover projects at Okoro-Nu-Odo, Rumuola, Rumuogba, and Port Harcourt GRA junction.
“We will also deliver the Ogoni – Andoni – Opobo unity road, the Eastern bypass dualization, 6th and 7th flyover projects and the Wakama road as well as all other ongoing rural roads in our communities and local government areas across the State.”
The governor stated that over N6 billion Naira has been provided in the 2021 budget to stimulate economic growth through investments in commerce, culture and tourism, mineral resource development as well as address environmental challenges to improve the quality of life of all residents.
Similarly, he said N13,861,407,451.97 has been provided to fund various social and economic investment schemes to support the development of small and medium scale businesses as part of efforts to create jobs and reduce poverty.
In cognizance that quality public education remains the key to breaking cycles of poverty, the governor said his administration has decided to prioritize education in the 2021 budget with the provision of N30,000,000,00 to boost infrastructure, enhance access and retention rates and improve educational outcomes in our schools throughout the State.
The governor hinted that the State government has provided N25,111,728,000.00 for health care services for 2021 fiscal year. According to him, the government will focus on completing the four zonal referral hospitals at Ahoada, Bori, Degema, Okehi and Omoku, which are all at advanced stages of completion.
Governor Wike, explained that the 2021 budget will also prioritizes security and sustains the existing efforts in combating insecurity and keeping residents safe and secure.
He said the Recurrent Expenditure of N142,776,489,415 represents 31.82 per cent of the 2021 budget. Out of this sum, he said N76,198,906,179 is for personnel costs; N18,863,016,430 is for overheads and N47,704,566,804 will be for grants and transfers to the consolidated revenue charges.
“From inception, this administration has prioritized the payment of salaries and pensions and I wish to assure our workers, including the proposed five thousand new enlistments, that they will receive their salaries as when due in 2021. Ministries, Departments and Agencies are also assured of prompt release of overheads to enable them run effectively and deliver services to the people.”
He said the budget will be funded from Statutory Allocation, 13% Oil Mineral Fund, internally generated revenue, value added tax, refunds for federal projects and excess crude oil deductions, domestic and foreign credit as well as grants from our development partners.
Meanwhile; the Speaker of the Rivers state House of Assembly Owaji-Ikunyi Ibani has assured Governor Nyesom Wike of the support of the House in the passage of the 2021 budget.
The lawmaker noted that the Governor has done very well since he assumed office particularly in 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic set in.
Present at the budget presentation were: Rivers State deputy governor, Mrs Ipalibo Harry Banigo; Secretary to the State government, Dr Tammy Danagogo; the State PDP chairman, Ambassador Desmond Akwor and members of the State executive council.