The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Wednesday, presented a N214.2 billion budget to the Edo State House of Assembly, for the 2022 fiscal year, representing a 32.96 percent increase from the N161.1 budgeted for the year 2021. Obaseki, who presented the budget to the Assembly sitting at the newly renovated Anthony Enahoro Assembly Complex in Benin City, said the budget comprises N118.3 billion for capital and N95.9 billion for recurrent expenditure. According to the governor, the document, christened, ‘Budget of Renewal, Hope and Growth’, seeks to enhance reforms in government process, stimulate economic prosperity and improve ease of doing business to continuously attract private capital to engender sustainable development.
The governor said the total projected revenue for 2022 is N186 billion, consisting N65 billion statutory allocation; Value Added Tax (VAT) of N23 billion; IGR, N50.3billion and N11.6billion from grants, among others, adding that “the revenue estimates for the budget are based on a $57 per barrel benchmark for crude oil and average daily production of 1.88m barrels per day as well as an increase in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to N50.3bn, owing to reforms in tax collection and management.” Obaseki said the impact areas for the 2022 fiscal year include road and bridges, which will gulp N30bn; education, N24.6bn; buildings, N21bn; enhancing the work environment, N15bn; health N14.1bn; public safety and security, N9.2bn and environment, N8bn. Other critical areas include social and youth development, N5bn; agriculture, N4.6bn; technology enhancement, N7.6bn; effective fiscal and business-friendly regulatory policies, N4.5bn; water, N1.2bn; electricity, N2.7bn; citizen re-orientation, N1.5bn and social protection, N1.2bn.
According to him, the budget for the Fiscal Year 2022 is informed by the government’s Making Edo Great Again (MEGA) agenda, which prioritises the promotion of social inclusion, economic empowerment for Edo citizens, through the deepening of investments in socio-economic, governance and security infrastructure; and through the implementation of initiatives that guarantee equal access to education, health care and social protection. “The 2022 budget is centered on reinforcing a sense of belonging in the citizenry and providing them with the opportunity to understand, participate and contribute to deepening governance. We are providing our people with an oasis of hope even with the harsh realities that confront us as a sub-national in a country that is confronted by a number of developmental challenges,” the governor noted. On the achievements in the outgoing year, Obaseki said, “In 2021, even with the harsh economic realities, our government reached a number of milestones in our quest to deliver good governance to Edo people. Although we were faced with the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic and the shocks from its attendant impact on the economy as well as other headwinds, we judiciously managed the lean resources available to us to initiate and continue investments in human capital, infrastructure upgrade, enhance productivity in the business space and foster economic rejuvenation.
“In the outgoing year, we implemented an expansive institutional transformation exercise, which is aimed at retooling, unbundling, restructuring and energising the systems and personnel in government to adapt and deploy bespoke practices to enhance service delivery. We launched the Edo State Public/Civil Service Transformation Program (EdoSTEP) to institutionalise and monitor this process, just as continuous in-service capacity enhancement programmes are ongoing at the John Odigie-Oyegun Public Service Academy.” Reviewing the gains recorded in the education sector, the governor noted, “Children in primary schools in Edo State today now learn three times more than they used to learn with the old pedagogue. The World Bank has acknowledged this consequential progress we have made in addressing Foundational Literacy and Numeracy defects in our students. Edo today is ranked as one of the five nationals and sub-nationals in the world leading the charge in tackling learning poverty. We have the lowest number of out-of-school children in Nigeria on account of our reforms.
“The EdoBEST 2.0 has been launched, through which not less than 300 junior secondary schools are being migrated to the EdoBEST platform, to sustain gains made in the past few years. At the tertiary education level, the Edo State College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Iguoriakhi and its sister campuses are being upgraded to global standard,” he added. For the healthcare sector, Obaseki said, “We have built a more resilient system involving all relevant stakeholders in the Edo State Healthcare system to respond to challenges faced with the outbreak of the COVID-19 crises. “With the health insurance scheme now operational, we are building a superstructure to provide a strong capital base for the sustenance of the healthcare system, while providing our people with a more democratised system of accessing quality and affordable healthcare.” He further stated: “Mr. Speaker, we have completed construction and have secured the accreditation of the world-class Edo State College of Nursing Sciences, a model tertiary education institution that has been primed to produce top-of-the-range health personnel.
“The CCETC Clean Energy/Ossiomo Independent Power Plant (IPP) is now operational and powering government buildings in Benin City, including Government House, the State Secretariat complex, Specialist Hospital, Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, among others. The operation ‘Light up Edo State’ is also ongoing. While the landmark Edo Modular Refinery project has been completed and set to commence operations, the Edo State Oil Palm Programme has been activated, with 50,000-hectares of land being cultivated by investors in oil palm plantations. We are at the verge of completing construction of the Benin City Central Bus Terminal, at the Obakhavbaye axis of Ring Road, and have acquired the portion of land stretching from the terminal to Oba Market, for a grander development to cater for 1,000 vehicles. The Edo State Geographic Information Service (EDOGIS) has successfully installed a Continuous Operating Reference Station (CORS) to upgrade surveying, mapping and GPS applications in the State. It has also acquired a fixed-wing VTOL drone and a vehicle-mounted mobile mapper to enhance its operations in land administration in the state.
“We have, in the last one year, awarded contracts for over 150 road projects spread across the three senatorial districts of the state. These include roads linking towns as well as small township and inner-city roads. While work is ongoing, our contractors have had to grapple with the adverse impact of the rainy season.” Obaseki, who reeled out achievements of his administration in innovation and youth enterprise, noted, “Working with our partners, we have launched the Edo Tech Park take-off campus, from where we are kicking- off the training of not less than 15,000 youths in the next five years in software engineering and soft skills. A batch from the Edo campus has already graduated and is set to take on the world to build tech unicorns from our state. “The Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub, another landmark project, is fitted with a world-class soundstage and a post-production studio, fitted with equipment for production, printing, animation and post-production, giving a fillip to our state’s creative sector.” Receiving the 2022 budget proposal, Speaker Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Marcus Onobun assured the Governor that the legislative arm will continue to work harmoniously with the executive to ensure socio-economic growth and development of the State.