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Delta 2021 budget to fast-track economic recovery amongst others

Delta 2021 budget to fast-track economic recovery amongst others

Delta State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Barry Gbe, has said that the 2021 budget of the state government would focus on fast-tracking the pace of the state economic recovery and boost economic diversification as well as to ensure social inclusion.

Gbe disclosed this to newsmen in Asaba, Wednesday, while analyzing the estimates of the 2021 budget, tagged, “Budget of Recovery”, which was signed into law by the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, early this week.

“The overall estimate for the 2021 budget was N 378.48 billion, which was made up of a recurrent budget of N171.23 billion and a capital budget of N 207.25 Billion naira.

“The budget was subsequently passed into law on the 17th of November 2020, with an increase of N 5.5 billion naira, from the original amount presented by the state Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa bringing to the total budget size to N 383.95 billion naira” said Gbe.

He added that the make-up of the budget passed by the Delta State House of Assembly was N 173.32 as total recurrent and N 210.62 as total capital budget, adding that the approved 2021 budget was lower than the original 2020 budget with N 11.482 billion by 2.90%.

According to him, the budget was carefully formulated and designed to address the challenges and resultant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, targeted at bringing the businesses and sources of family livelihood back to life.

He explained the House of Assembly’s increase of the budget with N5.5 billion was necessitated by the need to increase the budgetary provision for ongoing projects and some other key capital budget needs not adequately provided for as presented to the house.

Read also: Delta approves 2021-2023 MTEF/FSP, targets N306bn budget size for 2021

He stated that N2 billion was expended in the payment of allowances to frontline workers as an incentive in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. “The figure shot the total amount spent on personnel cost between January and September 2020 to N64.85 billion, representing a performance of 103.31% in the budget of the outgoing year” he revealed.

Reviewing the performance 2020 budget, the commissioner said that as part of the measure adopted by the government to respond to the coronavirus pandemic in the state, the 2020 budget was amended in order to respond appropriately to situations that prevailed.

“We prepared two budgets in the year 2020 (original and revised), however, implementing only the revised.

“The government during the nine months between January and September 2020 recorded a total revenue of N190, 308,961,283 out of the proportionate revenue of N211,748,922,289 which translates to 89.87 percent” he asserted.

According to him, The fiscal assumptions underpinning the 2021 budget included, Benchmark oil price of 40 US dollars per barrel, daily oil production estimate of 1.86 barrels, an Exchange rate of N379 per US dollar, GDP growth projection of 3.0 percent, and Inflation closing at 11.95 percent.

His counterpart, Commissioner for Finance, Fidelis Tileje, revealed that the state debt profile now stands at N207 billion, expressing satisfaction over the situation.

He noted that the appropriation bill as presented by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to the Delta Assembly was not shrouded in secrecy.

He disclosed that the state cannot borrow more than 40 percent ratios of its debt profile, noting that the current debt profile of the state stands at N207 billion while its debt ratio is 8.03 percent.

Tilije said the present administration was comfortable with the present debt profile, explaining that Delta was the least indebted state, having been rated 8% debt ratio by the Debt Management Office (DMO).

He said the implication was that the state was free from every encumbrance to borrow to fund projects, as the present seal by the Federal Ministry of Finance for states to borrow was 20% debt ratio following a reduction from 40% as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu said the 2021 budget breakdown was for the people to understand the economic policies of the state government in the coming year.