The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, yesterday presented a N153.4 billion budget proposal for the 2021 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly. The budget represented a 9.7 per cent increase from the revised 2020 budget. Obaseki, who presented the budget to the House of Assembly sitting at the old Legislative Chambers in the Government House, Benin, the state capital, said the budget comprised N94.8 billion for Recurrent Expenditure and N58.6 billion for Capital Expenditure. According to him, the budget christened: “Making Edo Great Again (MEGA) Budget,” is exclusively pinned on robustly responding to the dislocations caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, while building a workforce of the future.
Obaseki noted that the N94.8 billion recurrent expenditure estimate for 2021 fiscal year represents a 24 per cent growth from the N76.6 billion actual expected in the 2020 fiscal year. “The main driver of this growth is increase in allocation for salary payment and pension contributions to cater for new hires occasioned by the ongoing civil service transformation project,” he added: The governor listed the impact areas for 2021 fiscal year to include education, which will gulp N20.8 billion; human capital and civil service reforms (N6.1 billion); pension and gratuities (N12.8 billion); contribution to the State Health Insurance Scheme (N1 billion); health sector (N10.3 billion) and physical, urban and regional planning, which will gulp N9 billion.
Other critical sectors, according to the governor, include roads and transport infrastructure, which will receive N14.8 billion; economic growth and employment enablers (N7.6 billion), while administration gets N8.7 billion of the budget However, Obaseki said the N153 billion receipt expected in 2021 fiscal year would accrue from FGN/FAAC of about N71 billion; Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N36 billion; Grants – N9.8 billion; Loans – 15.3 billion; Capital Development Fund Receipts – 13.8 billion, while the state will have an opening balance of N7.5 billion in the fiscal year.
The governor added: “With the collaboration of this Honourable House, we have designed a unique instrument through which the state government can attract private sector funding targeted at key development projects. This was done in a manner that does not place a heavy burden on the state government’s balance sheet. Our combined efforts have thus led to the ability to syn-dicate N25 billion of private sector funding of which N13.8 billion will crystalise in FY2021.”
While stressing that the budget would address challenges in critical sectors of the economy, the governor noted that the 2021 budget is primed at strengthening the state’s healthcare system across board, sustaining gains in the education and social sectors, providing needed stimulus to drive food security, supporting the weak and vulnerable in the society and actively engaging the youths.