Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers on Monday, December 25, in Port Harcourt presented the 2019 Appropriation Bill of N480.42 billion to the State House of Assembly for consideration and subsequent approval.
Wike said that the estimate, tagged “Budget for Economic Growth and Sustainable Development,” was made up of N323.29 billion (65 per cent) capital expenditure and N157.12 billion (35 per cent) recurrent expenditure.
The governor said that the budget was N57.70 billion less than the 2018 figure, adding that N33 billion had been proposed for pensions and gratuities.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), report that the 2018 budget for the state is about N510 billion.
He said that the challenge about the plight of pensioners had lingered for too long and promised to tackle it in the coming year.
“Certainly, our senior citizens deserve better treatment than what they are presently getting,” he said.
He said that the budget would be funded from allocations from the Federal Account, Value Added Tax (VAT) and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Wike said the estimate was also premised on an oil price benchmark of 55 US dollars per barrel, five dollars lower than the federal government benchmark.
The governor said it was also based on the assumption of an oil production rate of two million barrels per day and an inflation rate of 10.9 per cent.
Wike said that the 2019 budget prioritised human capital and infrastructure development, adding that it would continue to strengthen the state economy, create jobs and complete ongoing projects.
He said that a substantial part of the capital budget was allocated to the Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Employment Generation, Empowerment, Health, Sports Development, Women Affairs, Works, and Youth Development
“It is clear by these estimates that the 2019 budget is aimed at promoting economic growth, creating jobs, tackling unemployment, taking our people out of poverty and improving their living standards,”.
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On the N30,000 new minimum wage, Wike said he would implement the new wage as soon as the Federal Government reviewed resource allocation formula for states.
Responding, the Speaker, Mr Ikunyi-awaji Ibani, commended the governor for presenting “a people-oriented” budget and promised speedy consideration and approval by the house.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng earlier reported that Nigeria’s external reserves has gained $801 million in the last 12 days despite Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) increased intervention in the foreign exchange market where millions of dollars are spent weekly ostensibly to support the naira.
After recent depletion of the reserves on the heels of drop in global oil prices and attendant decline in foreign earnings accretion, the external reserves rose by 1.89 per cent to $43.13 billion from $42.33 billion between December 3 and December 19, 2018.
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