Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, OFR has presented the 2024 budget estimate of Five Hundred and Sixty-Seven Billion, Two Hundred and Forty Million, Ninety-Five Thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventy-Two Naira (N567, 240, 095, 972. 00) only for passage into law by the State House of Assembly
The figure represents more than N400 billion rise from the 2023 estimate of N160.5 billion
Presenting the appropriation bill christened the “Budget of New Beginning”, the Governor said “it targets the expansion of our public infrastructure in line with our new development targets, scaling up access and quality service delivery in the social sector, with special focus on education and health where we are proposing to commit more than 20% and 15% of the aggregate budget spending respectively. ”
The Governor disclosed that 84% of the total budget would be spent on capital projects while 16% would be committed to recurrent expenditure
Of the proposed figure, the Governor said, government’s estimated total revenue is N166,077,717,058 including earnings from IGR channels, Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), grants from multilateral organisations and income from other revenue sources that will be available to the state government over the course of the accounting year.
Dr. Otti further stated that in 2024 fiscal year, the state proposes to commit 44.76% of the budget on the economic sector with the larger chunk of the resources going into works, (16.97%), land and housing (9.9%), agriculture (5.12%), and finance, (5.23%).
“We shall be committing major resources in the 2024 financial year to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of some of the most important roads along the major economic corridors of the state. The budget has provided for completion of some of the projects we started in 2023 including Port Harcourt Road Aba, Ossah Road, Umuahia-Uzuakoli-Abariba-Ohafia Road, Ozuabam-Ndi Okereke- Arochukwu Road, the dualisation of Umuikaa-Umuene-Omoba Road, Dualisation of Owerrinta-Umuikaa Road, Nunya-Eluama-Isuikwuato Road, Onuimo-Abia Tower Road amongst others as well as the commencement of new road projects in parts of the state.”
According to the Governor:
“On the basis of facts available to my office, we have done quite well in the implementation of the 2023 budget of N160.5 billion and the projection is that we would go well past the 60% budget implementation mark achieved in 2022. We have remained transparent and open in the presentation of our budget performance report and this has helped in giving the citizens a good understanding of how public resources that belong to them are being used.”
He pointed out that ” all borrowing in the 2024 fiscal year would be committed strictly to capital development projects with direct impact on the economy of the state, especially roads, schools and medical facilities. The projection is that the impact of these projects on the general economy in the medium to long term would generate the sufficient returns that would enable the state meet her obligation to the creditors smoothly and ultimately pay off the loans in due course.”
Dr Otti assured that not a dime shall be borrowed to finance recurrent expenditure while maintaining that borrowing would be negotiated on terms that are favourable to the State.
The Governor disclosed that his government shall be implementing a pay rise for the civil servants to reflect the present economic realities in the country.
“This shall be implemented in the New Year and provision for that has been made in the 2024 budget. The government will continue to prioritise the welfare of its employees even as we expect to see greater commitment from our civil servants who are major stakeholders in the implementation of our governance agenda.”
Governor Otti, who appreciated the good relationship existing between the executive and the legislature in the State, urged Mr. Speaker and the Members of the State House of Assembly to expedite action on passage of the appropriation bill.
Responding, the Speaker, Abia House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Emeruwa thanked the Governor for presenting a robust budget and expressed the hope that it would enhance the Abia economy.
He assured that the House would favourably consider the bill and give it an accelerated passage.