By Omuboye Sukubo/Port Harcourt
Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Wednesday presented a N470 billion budget to the State House of Assembly for services in 2017.
The budget which he christened “Golden Jubilee Budget for accelerated development’’ is N163 billion more than the N307 billion planned for spending in 2016.
Wike explained that the budget was designed to herald the historic 50 years of the state in 2017.
He said the budget was premised on the need to consolidate on achievements of 2016 and restore the state’s economy back to a sustained growth path and expand economic opportunities for all.
“This budget is underpinned by the following basic principles; first, enhancing the business environment, including tackling the security challenges for the private sector to grow.
“Expand our tax revenue base, and drive our economy through the value chain into becoming one of the largest economies in West Africa.
“Second, committing a greater proportion of available resources towards infrastructure development and public works to stimulate economic growth, create employment and reduce poverty,” he said.
Wike said priority would be given to security of lives and property, infrastructure development and maintenance, education, healthcare delivery and empowerment.
A breakdown of the 2017 budget indicates that the total projected capital expenditure is N329 billion, representing 70 per cent, while N141 billion was proposed for recurrent expenditure.
The governor disclosed that the 2017 budget would be funded via revenue receipts from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), 13 per cent Derivation proceeds, Value Added Tax (VAT), Reimbursements, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and Domestic credits.
“The unprecedented increase in the capital expenditure, once again, underscores our commitment to direct substantial resources to the critical growth sectors of our economy.
“This includes addressing infrastructure gaps to accelerate economic growth, secure the state and improve the wellbeing of our people,” he said.
Responding, the Speaker, Rivers House of Assembly, Mr Dabotorudima Adams, said the presentation of the 2017 budget has proven that Wike was committed to the development of the state.
Adams commended the governor for ensuring that the budget covered all sectors of needs in the state and promised accelerated passage.