Rivers to spend N483bn in 2022 on infrastructure

...May gross N521Bn by end of 2021 at N43bn per month ...Wike rates Rivers economy higher than 90 per cent of other states in Nigeria

Rivers State is to spend N483.173 billion in 2022 aimed at achieving what Gov Nyesom Wike called wealth creation, jobs, equity, social protection and economic inclusiveness.

This is as the state may hit N500Bn revenue by end of 2021 going by N391Bn realised in the first nine months of the years as disclosed by Gov Nyesom Wike on Friday, December 3, 2021, or N43bn per month.

The governor, who gave the assurance while presenting the 2022 appropriation bill, said his administration succeeded significantly in managing the resources of the state by building a strong economy relative to most other states of the federation.

Read also: Gov Wike has turned Rivers into a development model – Information boss

According to him, real tangible growth figures were also posted consistently, which is in excess of five per cent year-in-year-out, especially for the last two years.

“Within Nigeria, our economy is not only stronger than 90 percent of the other States; it has continued to perform better than most others in terms of real economic growth, fiscal consolidation, debt-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio and Internal Revenue Generation.

“The 2022 budget is crafted within the framework of the State’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework, the State’s Economic Strategy Paper, the national economic outlook and the State’s economic growth projections coupled with the various development instruments and programmes.”

Gov Wike said the projected recurrent expenditure is N144.76Bn which represents about 30 per cent of the total budget size for the 2022 fiscal year.

According to him, the projected estimate for capital expenditure is N314.9Bn which represents about 65 per cent of the total budget size.

The governor stated that the 2022 budget is pegged on the assumptions of the crude oil benchmark of $50 per barrel, national crude oil production estimates of 1.7 million barrel per day; Currency exchange rate of N410 to the dollar; a gross domestic product growth rate of between 3 per cent for the medium term; and an inflation rate of 13.5 per cent.

“Although this is yet another ambitious projection given the challenges of the national economy, we believe we would be able to successfully implement the capital because it is backed by a concrete plan of action and within achievable limits.”

Governor Wike explained that over half of the capital budget estimate is targeted at the economic and social sectors.

He listed the main items of the scheduled capital spending in the 2022 budget to include Agriculture, Roads, Bridges, Healthcare, Education, Social Welfare, Justice Delivery, Sports, Youth and Women Empowerment and Human Security.

These, he said, would invariably lead to generating real economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction and improvements in the living standards of citizens.

Governor Wike acknowledged that his administration inherited some agricultural assets, including hundreds of hectares of uncultivated lands, abandoned livestock infrastructure, fish farms, banana plantations and the Shonghai initiative.

“But none was backed by reasonable policy, investment and sustainability frameworks. Little wonder, they all readily failed and palled to nothing as ill-conceived fanciful ideas and programmes.

“We have therefore decided to make agriculture part of our engines for sustainable economic growth and development by supporting our people to move beyond subsistent levels of production.

“Our approach is to de-emphasise the direct participation of the State Government in agriculture and encourage the private to take the lead.

“We have provided the sum of N16.9Bn in the 2022 capital budget to revitalize, stimulate and grow the agricultural sector in the State.”

In the justice sector, Governor Wike said the sum of N2.25Bn has been earmarked as additional resources to improve the efficiency of the sector.

The sum, he maintained, will fund the State Judiciary’s action plan for 2022 that includes the construction of the new Magistrate Court’s Complex in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Judicial Institute and the South-South Zonal Headquarters of the Federal Judicial Service Commission.

He said the 2022 budget is also expected to further strengthen the health sector such that citizens are healthy with immediate access to affordable quality primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services and support.

Reflecting on how the 2021 budget of N448.6B performed, Gov Wike said its implementation was very impressive with over eighty percent performance.

“As at end of October 2021, total net revenue receipts was N391.325Bn or 87 per cent overall performance on the revenue side.”

Gov Wike urged the Supreme Court to expedite the trial of the Value Added Tax suit between the Rivers State government and the Federal Government.

“In anticipation of our victory we are continuing with our plan to integrate the VAT into our mainstream tax operations and strengthen the capacity of the RSIRS to effectively administer this head of tax when the responsibility comes.”

He said the administration shall complete the following roads, flyovers and other projects in the 2022 fiscal year.

“The Abali flyover, Rumukalagbor flyover, Nkpolu flyover, Rumuepirikom flyover and Elimgbu-Rumuokrushe flyover; the dualization of Ogbunuabali road, the dualization of Eastern bypass road; the dualization of Egbema – Omoku road; Trans-Kalabari road (phase one), the dualization of Ahoada – Omoku road (phase one); the dualization of Bori-Kono road and the dualization of Chokocho – Okehi – Igbodo road.

“Ogu – Ekporo –Kpogor-Wakama link road; Akpabu – Omudioga – Egbeda road; Rumuodogo 1 & 2 roads; Omoku-Aligwu-Kreigani-Oduoboburu road; Mgbuosimini – Nkpor – Mgbuodohia roads; Okochiri internal roads, phase 2; Omerulu community internal roads; Nchia internal roads; Igwuruta community internal roads; Abonnema/Obonnoma Sandfilling and reclamation; Bakana sand filling and reclamation; Okrika sand filling and reclamation;

The new Government jetty at Marine base, Port Harcourt; Chokocho Igbodo road; Oyigbo – Okoloma road; Rumuesara – Eneka road; and Ogu/Bolo sand filling.”

Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani noted the audacity of the 2021 Appropriation Bill that seeks to consolidate ongoing development as championed by Governor Wike.

He said all the members of Rivers State House of Assembly know the exact projects and services that are provided by the Wike administration for the good of the state and its people.

“No one is in doubt that what you have presented before the Rivers State House of Assembly is not realisable. It is a realistic and realisable budget and this has been your established pattern for the six years going seven years that you have mounted the leadership stage in the state.”