Delta State Govt. proposes N298bn estimates for 2018, as Okowa slams Cairo Ojougbo for ‘unintelligent comments’


Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State this morning presented his administration’s budget estimates of N298.078 billion for the services of the government in 2018, even as he chided Dr. Cairo Ojougbo for making “unintelligent comments” over the latter’s claim that the governor presented a blank 2017 budget to the State House of Assembly.
Answering questions from Journalists shortly after presenting his 2018 “budget of hope and economic stability”, said he would ordinarily not have responded to comments made by somebody who though went to school but makes very unintelligent comments.
“You (journalists) were here last year when the budget was presented. The budget was debated by the House and the Press was also present when the budget was signed. I have been to the National Assembly, and I believe that the Delta state House of Assembly is credible. We have followed all the processes just as we are starting to follow the process again this year,” the Governor stated.
He continued: “Is it possible to have a blank budget? Then what is the budget if it is blank? So, some comments appear stupid and unintelligent. But we are in a nation where everybody can say whatever is in your mouth; freedom of speech. But it’s only fair that people who went to school should be able to speak in a manner that reflects that we went to school. But when we speak unintelligently, it’s a very unfair thing,” Okowa said.
He told the Lawmakers that his N298.078bn 2018 budget proposal which shows an increase of N3.62bn or 1.21%, compared to the 2017 approved budget of N294.4b, comprises the sum of N147.5bn or 49.48% for recurrent expenditure, and N150.5 or 50.52% for capital expenditure.
Listing the sources from which the government hopes to fund the budget proposal, Okowa projected to generate the sum of N71.3bn as internally generated revenue in 2018, representing 23.94% of the total projected revenues. “The IGR estimates for 2018 is higher than the 2017 approved estimates byN1.1b or 1.67%,” he said.
Besides, and using the forecast derived from the State’s Fiscal Strategy Paper as a guide, he announced that the sum of N178.1bn or 59.73% of projected total revenue for the 2018 fiscal year is expected to come from Statutory Allocation. “This amount is more than the sum ofN148.9bn projected for the 2017 fiscal year by N29.1bn or 16.35%,” he explained, adding that the increase is based on the optimism that the current peaceful atmosphere in the Niger Delta region will be sustained and that, with the relative peace being experienced, some of the oil companies who vacated the region will return to the State. “It is also our realistic expectation that the gradual improvements the Federal Government has recorded in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors will continue to impact positively on the overall expected returns in the 2018 fiscal year,” Governor Okowa said.
He announced that the proposal for capital receipts for the 2018 budget has been scaled down from the sum of N64.8bn in the 2017 budget to N37.9bn or 71.09% in 2018, hinging it on the overriding objective to reduce the loan burden on the State.
He said that the proposed recurrent expenditure estimates for 2018 of N147.5bn is made up of personnel costs of N64.3bn or 43.36%, and overhead costs of N46.8bn or 31.56%, while the Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges has a proposed sum of N37.23bn or 25.09%.
The proposed capital expenditure estimates for 2018 is N150.6bn, which is N14.1bn or 9.39% higher than the 2017 capital budget of N136.4bn.
• Editor’s note: See full text of the governor’s 2018 budget proposal in website.

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