Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State Governor on Wednesday presented a budget of four hundred and forty-eight billion, six hundred and sixty million, seven hundred and seven-three thousand, four hundred and seventy-six naira (N448,660,773,476) for the 2021 fiscal year.
Governor Wike said the proposed budget represents more than a 20% increase over the 2020 Revised Budget of N300,000,000.00 only.
In the estimated budget, recurrent expenditure took one hundred and forty-two billion, seven hundred and seventy-six million, four hundred and eighty-nine thousand and four hundred and fifteen naira (N142,776,489,415). This represents 31.82 per cent of the estimated budget.
On the other hand, he said, the “projected the sum of three hundred and five billion, eight hundred and ninety-four million, two hundred and eighty-four million, and sixty-one kobo (N305, 894, 284.061), representing 68.18% of the total budget size as Capital Expenditure for the fiscal year 2021.”
Wike explained that out of this sum, seventy-six billion, one hundred and ninety-eight million, nine hundred and six thousand, one hundred and seventy-nine naira (N76,198,906,179) only, is for personnel costs, eighteen billion, eight hundred and sixty-three million, sixteen thousand, four hundred and thirty naira (N18,863,016,430), for overheads and forty-seven billion, seven hundred and four million, five hundred and sixty-six thousand, eight hundred and four naira, (N47,704,566,804) only, as grants and transfers to the consolidated revenue charges.
He said the 2021 budget will focus on four broad priorities:
- To accelerate economic recovery, drive growth, and create opportunities for social progress.
- Enhance human capital development and tackle poverty.
- To strengthen our infrastructural base to accelerate economic development.
- Create a pathway to food security and improved wellbeing through sustainable mechanized agriculture.
Accordingly, the objectives of the 2021 budget, include: to secure and consolidate inclusive economic progress and achieve a Gross Domestic Product growth rate of 5-6 percent.
• Drive the development of small and medium scale enterprises to enhance job creation, economic empowerment, and social progress.
• Ensure the continuous execution and delivery of more development projects, including roads, bridges, flyovers, healthcare, education, sports, and social welfare projects across the State.
• Create viable economic platforms and social investment schemes for tackling social exclusion, gender inequality, and mass poverty.
• Sustain a more business-friendly climate to attract both domestic and foreign direct investments into the State’s economy.
• Deliver comprehensive access to quality public education and affordable healthcare services for the citizens.
• Attract and support private sector investments into the development of agriculture to enhance food security.
The governor noted that the implementation of this budget in its original form was frustrated by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on the global, national, and state economies.
“This inevitably necessitated the review of the budget to reflect COVID-19 compliant as dictated by the challenging economic realities,” the former Education Minister explained.
2020 Budget Performance
Governor Wike recalled that the 2020 budget was reviewed downwards by about 40 per cent to three hundred billion, three hundred and seventy million, seventy-one thousand, one hundred and eighty-three naira, thirty-two kobo(N300,370,071,183.32) only.
The 2020 budget, christened “Reassurance, profound impact for inclusive growth and shared prosperity” with a total budget size of five hundred and thirty billion, eight hundred and thirteen million, three hundred and fifty-seven thousand, six hundred and nineteen naira (N530,813,357,619.00) only, was signed into law in December 2019.
He said that revised recurrent capital expenditure was fixed at one hundred and twenty-nine billion, three hundred and thirty-six million, six hundred and sixty-two thousand, twenty-eight naira, seventy-seven kobo (N129,336,662,028.77).
While the revised recurrent expenditure was one hundred and seventy-one billion, thirty-three million, four hundred and nine thousand, one hundred and fifty-four naira, fifty-five kobo (171,033,409,154.55) only.
Governor Wike disclosed that his administration from inception had prioritised the payment of salaries and pensions.
He assured the workers including the proposed five thousand new enlistments, that they will receive their salaries as when due in 2021.