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The Delta State Governor
New Media Office of the Delta State Governor H.E Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa
2019 BUDGET ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, SENATOR, DR IFEANYI OKOWA, THE GOVERNOR OF DELTA STATE, TO THE DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, ON WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2018.
It is my pleasure to present to this honourable House the fourth budget in this Government’s first four-year mandate. The first three budgets of this administration were largely centred on charting five main pathways critical to actualizing our reforms agenda of job/wealth creation, fiscal stability, and sustained economic growth. The proposed 2019 budget will consolidate, expand and deepen the process as we pursue our transformative goal of building a strong, diversified and inclusive economy.
- 2019 is a peculiar year because of the general elections at both the federal and state levels. That poses a challenge of its own, quite different from the relative predictability of the outgoing year. Traditionally, electioneering periods tend to exert huge toll on governance while impacting negatively on fiscal stability. The challenge for us as an administration is to maintain our focus, ensure strong, stable macroeconomic fundamentals and sound public finances.
STRATEGIC IMPERATIVES FOR THE 2019 BUDGET
A major thrust of the 2019 budget proposal is to reflate the economy and better manage our level of exposure as a Government. To achieve this, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies ranked their budget proposals in descending order of priority taking 100% of all outstanding commitments of 2015 and 2016 into account, while 60% and 40% of existing contractual obligations in 2017 and 2018 were respectively factored into the 2019 budget plan.
Road and physical infrastructure, education and health continue to receive priority attention in our on-going efforts to uplift the standard and quality of life of the population.
Creating new opportunities for job creation and private investment is a recurring theme as we seek to instil in our youths the entrepreneurial spirit while supporting and promoting the growth and development of MSMEs.
Policy harmonization and coordination is critical for sustainable value creation as we march towards our absolutely challenging goal of building a strong and resilient economy that will deliver our goal of prosperity for all.
Central to the effective implementation of the 2019 budget proposals is the compelling need to uphold and strengthen the values of good governance, bolster the various peace building platforms, ensure fiscal discipline, drive effective public communication, promote community engagement and deliver excellent service.
4. Before I delve into the details of the 2019 budget proposals, it is only fitting and proper that I take a few minutes to reflect on the achievements of our administration in the past three and half years.
i. Fiscal and Macroeconomic Stability
- Mr Speaker, you will recall that in my inaugural address to this honourable house I disclosed that the Government was beset with a Revenue Bond and indebtedness to commercial banks totalling N98.62bn (Principal sum), while outstanding contractual obligations was N538,601,962,421.50. I am happy to announce to you that this exposure has been significantly reduced to about N228, 328,360,009. We were able to achieve this through revalidation, repudiation, reconciliation and value for money exercise. We remain committed to sustaining this exercise through prudent awards of contracts and payment of same to key and significant projects.
I extend my profound appreciation to this House for their cooperation and support in reducing the deficit. Indeed, the synergy between this House and the executive arm of Government has been nothing short of superlative. This sense of mission and unity of purpose are what we need to engender long-term economic development, social harmony, political stability, and general well-being of our people. My sincere appreciation also goes to the Civil Service Establishment, the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and all workers’ unions and associations for their understanding and support.
Internally Generated Revenue equally took a downturn as a result of the economic crisis. To worsen matters, the relocation of some oil multinationals like Shell Petroleum Development Company, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, Pan Ocean Oil Corporation, and other oil servicing companies from the State had occasioned a steep decline in internal revenue generation from N50bn and N42bn in 2013 and 2014 respectively, toN40bn in 2015.
To shore up the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), we had to systematically overhaul the entire revenue generation machinery of the State. This included expanding the tax payers base, fortifying enforcement/regulatory measures, introduction of e-Receipt and Central Billing System aimed at blocking leakages, as well as other fiscal management reforms. As a result of these measures, the tax agent database for the formal sector rose from 1,800 to 7,200. Also, the database of taxpayers in the informal sector jumped from about 5,000 to 336,061.
- Subsequently, the internally generated revenue of the State has witnessed a steady growth resulting in N44bn and N51bn being generated in 2016 and 2017 respectively. As at the end of the first half of 2018, the sum of N31.2bn has been generated.
ii. Peace Building for Sustainable Development
- It is a maxim in development economics that no meaningful development can take place without peace. To the glory of God, I am happy to report that Delta State has enjoyed social and political stability for the major part of our first four years in office. And this is largely due to the peace building measures we proactively took to forestall the breakdown of law and order.
The first of these measures was the one-day Stakeholders’ Summit to address “Security and Environmental Challenges in the Oil and Gas Sector in Delta State” in January 2016. The meeting was necessitated by the need to devise appropriate security strategies, regulatory frameworks, and countervailing measures needed for adequate protection of our oil and gas installations.
That summit proved to be prophetic because less than two months after the summit took place, there was a resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta. The attendant destruction/vandalism of oil and gas facilities, leading to fall in oil production, impacted negatively on the nation’s revenue receipts from oil exports. A catastrophic resultant effect was mass spillage and destruction of aquatic life. Delta State bore the major brunt of the damage following the bombing of the Forcados Export Terminal.
In a swift move to stanch the bleeding, I inaugurated a nine-man Advocacy Committee Against Vandalism of Oil and Gas Facilities with His Excellency, Barr. (Dcn) Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, Deputy Governor of Delta State, as Chairman.
Through the efforts of the Committee the Forcados Export Terminal was successfully reactivated. It is worthy to point out that over 200,000 barrels of crude oil is fed into the country’s export from the Forcados 48 – inch underwater export pipeline operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC). Ensuring the repair and activation of the export line meant a higher level of crude export for the national economy and Delta State, the host State of the facility, has been better for it.
In addition, the Advocacy Committee has continuously engaged youths in the oil bearing communities for intelligence gathering and surveillance of oil and gas facilities from May 2017 till date. This, no doubt, has helped to boost oil and gas production/export in the State resulting in improved earnings.
Let me also add that our continuing efforts at youth training and entrepreneurship development have, in no small measure, helped to ensure peace and stability. Many of our once idle and restive youths are now meaningfully engaged in productive endeavours. Aside from the enterprise development programmes undertaken by the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer, we have also inaugurated a State Steering Committee on Special Youth Intervention Training and Empowerment Programme with the Honourable Commissioner for Youth Development as the Chairman.
iii. Road and Physical Infrastructure
- This administration has prioritized the development of road infrastructure to interconnect our rural communities and enhance urban renewal and integration. Our road projects portfolio since May 2015 is 317 projects comprising 1,000km of roads and 344km of drains valued at over N243bn. Out of this number, 135 projects covering 405km of roads and 159km of drainage channels (alongside roads) have been completed.
Worthy of mention are the roads that have been embarked upon in riverine communities with their difficult terrain. In particular, I will like to cite the Main Axial Road and Okerenkoko Township roads in Warri South West Local Government Areas as some of the flagship projects of this administration. There is also the on-going rehabilitation and Asphalt Overlay of the 19.7km Obutobo 1 –Obutobo11 – Sokebolou – Yokori road in Burutu Local Government Area. These projects have excited the residents of these communities and underscore our resolve to break new frontiers and bring development to every part of the State no matter how remote.
The Asaba Storm Water Drainage Project is on course.
The channel from Nnebisi Road through DLA to Jesus-Saves road is already completed except for ancillary road works that are currently on-going.
The Ralph Uwaechue through Ibori Golf Course to Anwai River channel is 64% completed and should be fully ready in February 2019
There is the third channel from DBS through Cabinet Road to Amilimocha River. This is 44.7% done and should also be completed in February 2019.
The recently completed Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba, complete with tartan tracks, digital score board, new flood lighting technology, is a beauty to behold and one of the few stadia in the country with fully covered stands. The 21st African Senior Athletics Championship, which took place at the stadium, was one event that registered high scores for Nigeria in the areas of project execution and hosting of sporting events. At the end of the competition, athletes broke African and national records, changed their minds about the initial hiccups experienced, and Asaba 2018 registered the highest number of participating countries and foreign journalists since the commencement of the championship in 1979. The stadium is already attracting national attention. A week from today, it will host the final of the AITEO Federations Cup between Enugu Rangers International Football Club and Kano Pillars Football Club.
I am delighted to report that we have made considerable progress in our quest to make Asaba Airport an international gateway. Following the successful completion of the runway rehabilitation work, the airport has been approved and upgraded to a Category 6 Airport to receive and dispatch large aircraft, by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. Consequently, Nigeria’s premier carrier, Air Peace Airline resumed daily scheduled flight operations in and out of Asaba Airport on Monday, 8th October, 2018. The management of Air Peace Airline has already indicated interest to make Asaba Airport its operational hub, where it can quickly build its maintenance hangers.
Furthermore, work on our concession plan for the airport has also reached an advanced stage. The concession will ensure that we realise our objective of turning the airport into a mega commercial and travel hub in this part of the country in record time, in order to boost our economy and create more jobs for our people. So far, we have received strong interests from both local and international investors in the concession exercise. We expect the airport to be fully concessioned in 2019. In this regard, we published a formal “Request for Proposal” in national newspapers on Tuesday, 9th October, 2018.
iv. Human Capital Development
A. Enterprise Development
23. Across board, the thrust of our human capital development policy is to build a knowledge economy, equip our people with the skill sets to create jobs and wealth, stimulate the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and enhance the business competitiveness of the State. The Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer, a Special Purpose Vehicle, was created with this goal in mind.
- By design and implementation, their two flagship programmes, Skills Training and Entrepreneurship programme (STEP) and Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP), have been very effective in turning unemployed youths between the ages of 18-35 into entrepreneurs, leaders and managers, with high levels of personal effectiveness. The Ministries of Agriculture, Women Affairs and Youth Development as well as the Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency have also been very effective in the training and empowerment of our people to create wealth and earn a decent living.
As at September 30, 2018, 15,041 of persons have been trained and established in their various enterprises by this administration. The breakdown is as follows:
· Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer = 3,073
· Ministry of Agriculture = 3,562
· DEMSMA = 7,566
· Women Affairs = 640
· Youth Development = 200
I want this honourable House to please note that these figures do not include the multiplied thousands of direct and indirect jobs created through our massive investment in road and physical infrastructure, agricultural value chain support schemes, microcredit, contributory health insurance, technical education, public environmental works and other socio-economic initiatives.
- Delta State is one of the four Niger Delta Pilot States for the State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) Project, a World Bank/European Union Intervention in partnership. The Project Development Objective is to enhance opportunities for youth employment and access to socio-economic services while improving the public financial management processes of each implementing State. The project has three main components namely: youth employment through small public works and access to socio-economic services; public financial management reforms; and project management.
- The SEEFOR project has provided direct employment for over 8,455 youths and indirect employment for about 5,000 persons in the State. In addition 733 youths were trained on short-term vocational enterprises under Technical, Vocational, Educational and Agricultural Training (TVEAT), in a project co-founded by the State.
- In order to improve the efficiency of our business process, a new state-of-the-art, converged infrastructure has been procured, installed and currently in use for upgrade of the SAP ERP Application software. A new SAP license regime has been put in place leading to a savings of $600,000 p.a. for the State Government through the waiver of $2.3 million as well as the reduction of the legacy annual license from $750,000 p.a. to $145,000 per annum by the SAP Management.
As you very well know, the shift in focus from certificate acquisition to skills acquisition has been the centrepiece of our reforms in the education sector. Towards this end, the six technical colleges in the State have been given a new lease of life. To date over₦3 billion (Three Billion Naira) has been spent on infrastructural upgrade and supply (and in some cases refurbishment) of equipment to the Technical Colleges. Full accreditation has been obtained for all programmes in the six Technical Colleges from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).
It is a thing of joy that our investment in the technical colleges is yielding the desired dividends. Enrolment has increased between 2015 and now as shown in the table below:
- With improved linkages and partnerships, all Six Technical Colleges now enjoy a World Bank/SEEFOR grant of ₦45 million annually. They now run vocational programmes thus positioning them as Vocational Enterprise Institutes (VEIs) and for the National Vocational Qualification Framework (NVQF). For the full utility of personnel, equipment and instructional facilities, Junior Secondary Education (JS 1-3) has been approved in Technical Colleges
- To enhance access to education and in consonance with SDG 4, the UBE Act and new National Policy on Education, we have established 12 primary and 34 secondary schools, most of them in difficult to reach areas of the State. With the new additions, Delta State now has 1,124 public primary and 465 public secondary schools.
Infrastructural development in our schools is going on steadily. As at today we have completed the following model schools: Ogbemudien Secondary School, Agbor; Alema College, Abigborodo; Burutu Grammar School, Burutu; Owa Model Secondary School, Boji-Boji Owa and Otu Jeremi Secondary School, Otu Jeremi.
The problem of poor teacher quality requires a pragmatic solution that will ensure teaching excellence and improved welfare at the same time. Consequently, the State Executive Council approved the establishment of a Teacher Professional Development Centre at Owa-Oyibu, Ika North East Local Government Area. The construction of Phase 1 of the project, which consists of the main block (incorporating the Admin Offices and Lecture Theatres) and external works (incorporating the perimeter fence and utility buildings) is ongoing and at approximately 65% completion. When fully completed, the Centre will help to train, retool and upgrade teachers at various levels to ensure optimum output.
In the tertiary education sector, we have continued to invest heavily in physical infrastructure to provide a more conducive learning climate, in addition to ensuring that the academic standard is kept high to merit continuous accreditation by the relevant regulatory authorities. Some of the on-going projects in our tertiary institutions include:
– Construction of Lecture Theatre for the Faculty of Engineering, Oleh Campus, Delta State University
- Construction of Faculty of Science Building, Abraka Campus Delta State University
- Construction of Multi-Purpose Lecture Theatre, Abraka campus, Delta State University
- Construction of 12 Classroom Storey Building Block at the Delta State Institute of Continuing Education, Asaba
Construction of Faculty Building and 2nos of 500 Sitting Capacity Lecture Theatre, Anwai Campus, Delta State University.
Construction of Auditoria at the Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro
Construction of Auditoria at the Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku
37. The Universal Health Coverage of the State Government is a resounding success. You will recall that under this administration Delta became the first State in the federation to launch Universal Health Coverage. As at September 30, 2018, the total number of enrolees stood at 316,301. This is broken down as follows:
i. Equity Plan Enrolees 189,349 (Comprising 74,763 –
Pregnant women and 114,586 – U5 children)
ii. Formal Plan Enrolees 118,798 (comprising 47, 255 Primary Enrolees and 71,543 Dependants)
iii. Informal Plan 8,154 (comprising 3, 646 widows, 4,508 Keke Riders and 40 Royal Fathers).
The Scheme has been nationally acclaimed as it received awards for the Outstanding State Government Healthcare Programme of the Year 2017; and the State with the most people covered under its State Social Health Insurance Scheme with a focus on the Poor and Vulnerable population in Nigeria 2018.
To ensure quality and efficient service delivery under the scheme, the State Executive Council recently approved the renovation of 107 primary health centres across the State. In addition, we have taken delivery of the Doctors and Nurses Quarters at the Government Hospital, Ofagbe while medical equipment for the Dialysis Centre at the Central Hospital, Warri has been procured. We have also undertaken the renovation and rehabilitation of the General Hospital, Bomadi and rehabilitation of facilities at the Cottage Hospital, Ogriagbene also in Bomadi, among others.