By Moses Uwagbale
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Monday in Asaba assented to the state’s 2021 Appropriation Bill of N383 billion.
The bill tagged “Budget of Economic Recovery” is made up of N210 billion capital expenditure and N173 billion recurrent expenditure
The Delta House of Assembly increased the budget figure of N378.48 proposed by the governor to N383 billion.
Signing the budget, Okowa assured the people that the state would strive to recover from the economic challenges engendered by Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The governor commended the state house of assembly for the speedy passage of the bill.
He said that signing the budget before December would avail the state government the opportunity to further plan towards its implementation from January, 2021.
He said that the state government would remain focused in the implementation of the budget as passed, for the benefit of the people of the people.
The governor noted that there was warm working relationship between the executive and the legislature in the state.
“You have just witnessed my signing into law, the 2021 Appropriation Bill, and as I said on Oct. 27, during the presentation of the bill, we are in very difficult times this year.
“The second wave of the pandemic will create further challenge for the recovery of the economy of our nation.
“However, we are optimistic that in the 2021 fiscal year, things will gradually improve and we will be able to get back to the desired levels of infrastructural and human capital development for our people.
“There is a lot of unemployment and our people are generally getting restive nationally.
“I pray that God will help us and this nation to rediscover ourselves and to commit every work of our people and our state and nation for the common good of all our citizens.
The budget is termed ‘budget of economic recovery’ because we are very much aware of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on both our health systems and the economy of the country.
“The pandemic obviously impacted negatively on our budget in 2020 that we had to reduce it twice in the year.
“I want to appreciate our contractors who have continued to stay in their various sites to work even when it is becoming increasingly difficult to make payments on contractual agreements already made.
“We will continue to be very responsible as a state and we will continue to work with them to deliver on our projects,” he said.
The governor expressed delight that some of the key projects in the state, including the new state secretariat building and the Ughelli-Asaba dual carriageway were still on course.
“I want to reassure you, Mr Speaker and Delta people that the executive will keep focus on the development of projects that we are involved in,” he added.
He disclosed that work had commenced at the Ogwashi-Uku Agro-Industrial Park, and reaffirmed that the state government was committed to delivering the project on time.
Okowa said that the state would continue to focus on entrepreneurship programmes, and take them to higher levels in the 2021 fiscal year by engaging more youths.
He said that the state government was also be paying attention to the girl-child development and the empowerment of women.
Presenting the appropriation bill, the Speaker of the state assembly, Sherrif Oborevwori, said that the bill went through all legislative process before being passed.
He said that the bill was presented to the house on Oct. 27 and was passed on Nov. 17, after it was considered sector by sector.
“The quick passage of the bill was necessitated by Your Excellency’s vision to bring the state out of the economic challenges posed by the pandemic,” he said.
According to him, the increase in the budget size was to provide for some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that were not captured in the proposal.