Ondo State governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has just presented N190.023 billion 2019 appropriation bill tagged “Budget of Advancement” to the state House of Assembly.

Below is the breakdown of the budget presentation by the governor.

OBJECTIVES AND POLICY THRUSTS OF 2019 ESTIMATES

The 2019 Budget is the second major budget to be prepared by this Administration, and so, our emphasis will be to consolidate and build on the feats achieved in 2018. To this end, our objectives for the 2019 budget are:

(i) Completion of on-going programmes/projects;

(ii) Rapid economic development and transformation;

(iii) Sustained expansion of the fiscal space and rejig the economy through strategic wealth creation for the productive sector (Youths, Artisans, Women, etc);

(iv) Innovative and integrated approach to drive government revenue through technology to increase actual Independent Revenue by at least 50%;

(v) Improvement in the State’s fiscal performance to enable the State increase its draw-down on Federal Government and international performance-based grants;

(vi) Reduction in reliance on Federal Transfers through diversification of the State’s economy;

(vii) Inclusive growth based on Intelligent Development approach;

(viii) Sustained investment in infrastructural facilities and resuscitation of ailing/moribund industries in the State;

(ix) Accelerated rural development;

(x) Promotion of functional education and technological growth;

(xi) Robust human Capital Investment Initiatives and Social Security Services.

20. In order for us to achieve the foregoing objectives, highlighted below are some of the strategies we are going to adopt.

(i) Constitution of Economic Advisory Team and Efficiency Unit for the State;

(ii) Compliance with global best practices
in Fiscal Allocation and Management;

(iii) Development of ICT to drive Independent Revenue (IR), empower and create wealth for our productive sectors;

(iv) Sustained engagement of revenue consultants to help drive independent revenue generation;

(v) Leverage on donor partners support and diaspora monetary inflow;

(vi) Provision of social security services for the elderly and others;

(vii) Deliberate investments in agro enterprises, provisions of farm inputs and supply of improved seedlings to farmers to boost food production and generate employment for our youths; and

(viii) Continuous opening up of rural feeder roads to enhance hitch free conveyance of farm produce to the market;

(ix) Rigorous pursuit of efforts at Industrialising the State.

Mr. Speaker, you will recall I informed this honourable House here last year that we had engaged some revenue consultants to complement the existing efforts in revenue generation and to overcome the challenges posed by inadequate revenue. I am happy to inform you that the effort has been yielding a positive result ranging from appreciable blockade of some revenue leakages to increase our revenue base, a situation which has led to the State generating an average monthly IR of N1.263 billion as against N905m monthly average recorded in 2017.

Yes, we are not there yet, but with the combined efforts of the consultants and the vibrant autonomous Board of Internal Revenue, as well as the various financial reforms being carried out by this Administration, we shall achieve the desired result in no distant time.

Despite the improvement recorded in IR, revenue from Federation Account still contributes the larger part of total revenue accruing to the State. The same scenario will still play out in 2019 fiscal year.

In the light of this, our revenue projections are based on some macro-economic assumptions as contained in the 2019-2021 MTEF of both Ondo State and Federal Government. These assumptions are: –
GDP Growth (%) – 2.30
Crude Oil Benchmark price per barrel – $55
Average production (million barrel/day) – 1.60
Inflation Rate (%) – 9.98
Exchange Rate (N to US$) – 305

AN OVERVIEW OF 2019 BUDGET

2019 Budget has been prepared based on the projections of the 2019-2021 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). MTEF is a three-year planning document that shows the aggregate resources envelope available to our government and how the resources are allocated to meet the developmental agenda of the Government.

As a reminder, Mr. Speaker, MTEF is one of the statutory provisions of the Ondo State Fiscal Responsibility Law (FRL) which this Honourable House passed in 2017. The Law makes it mandatory that every yearly budget must be prepared on the basis of the next three years projections of MTEF. Consequently, 2019 Budget is an offshoot of the 2019-2021 MTEF.

Mr Speaker, we have used the 2018 Fiscal year to lay the foundation of the economic trajectory designed for the State. Most of the programmes and projects will crystalize in the 2019 Fiscal year. For example, both RAAMP and the NEWMAP projects will be fully effective in 2019.

In the same vein, most of the major MOUs orchestrated through ONDIPA, inclusive of the Deep Sea Port are expected to fully blossom in 2019. It is in view of this that the 2019 Budget has been aptly tagged “the Budget of Advancement ”.

EXPENDITURE PERFORMANCE
Mr. Speaker, with less than expected revenue, we have laid the foundation for the change we promised through the 2018 budget and in line with our strategic plan (JMPPR). We have deliberately targeted our intention towards the five cardinal programmes as discussed hereafter.

Massive Infrastructure Development and Maintenance

On the infrastructure side Mr. Speaker, we have used the 2018 fiscal year to jump start the several years of neglect on our road infrastructure. It may interest you to know that we have not confined ourselves only to State roads, but have extended this necessary intervention to Federal Roads within the State.

For example, the failed portions of the deplorable Owo-Ikare Road are being attended to. As we speak, Mr. Speaker, we are working, currently, on fifty seven roads across the three senatorial districts of the State, including the Ore Intersection fly-over promised last year.

As at date, about 50km of these roads have been completed up to asphalt overlay while the others are in varying stages of completion. For example, the first phase, (i.e. A-Division to NEPA Roundabout portion), of the A-Division to Ijoka Road dual carriage way will be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2019.

Also, the 7km Akure-Idanre alternative route will soon be completed. We have intervened on several fronts to ameliorate the suffering of our people. Some of the completed/on-going interventions include:

Construction of Ore Intersection Fly over bridge;

‘A’ Division – Ijoka Dual Carriage Road;

Construction of Oke Alabojuto in Ikare;

Construction of Gaga Community Road, Akure;
Rehabilitation of Owo-Ikare Road;

Construction of Ajagba – Sabomi Road;

Construction of 2.76km Idanre Township Road;

Construction of Iwalewa – Alafiatayo –
Hospital Road;

Completion of dual carriage way of Owo Township Road;

Construction of Bye Pass, Igbokoda Road, (12.7km); and

In sum, the total project cost of these initiatives is over N60 billion out of which more than N10 billion has been paid.

As part of our effort to salvage the perennial power outage in the Southern Senatorial District of the State, we are deploying stand-alone solar power solutions in 33 Communities of the Zone.

As we speak, Aboto, Ebute-Ipare and Igbobini have been powered while another Community will also be energised in the next few weeks. It may also interest you to know that Ode-Aye has been reconnected to the national grid after about a decade of darkness and other towns will soon be reconnected in Southern Senatorial District.

On assumption of office in 2017, this Administration met a high profile infrastructure deficit. Our primary and secondary school buildings were dilapidated. Many of the Schools had no roofs, a deplorable situation which made our pupils to learn under trees. I am happy to report to you that the story has greatly changed.

In furtherance of our effort to resuscitate our school infrastructure, over seven billion Naira (N7 billion) has been committed to the renovation of more than 500 Primary Schools in the State in 2018.

In the next fiscal year, another sum of N3billion has also been budgeted to continue renovation work in other primary schools in the State. In addition to this, work in six secondary schools, two in each Senatorial district, which could not be carried out in the current year because of paucity of fund, will be done in the next fiscal year.

In fulfilment of this Administration’s mission to provide durable, reliable and accessible roads for her people, a number of projects carried out in the current year are on varying degrees of completion. In the next fiscal year, we are going to complete the on-going ones while new ones will be awarded.

These include:
Construction of Okitipupa/Igbokoda Bye pass Road;

Araromi Seaside/Lekki Road;

Completion of fly over/Bridge at Ore intersection;

Completion of Ijoka to Idanre road;

Dualization of Carriageway from Oba Adesida (‘A’ Division), Oba Osupa/Hospital Road – Oluwatuyi – Ijoka road;

Dualisation of Emure Junction – AUD from Ministry of Works to Iyere Junction road; and
Dualisation of Ikare township road (Phase II);

Dualization of Oda Road will commence in 2019.

All of these will be actualised in 2019, barring unforeseen contingencies.

Mr Speaker, Sir, it is my joy to announce that the long awaited Bitumen exploitation in the State will come on stream in 2019. The feasibility study and preliminary work to begin the exploitation has been completed and starting from 2019, Ondo State, and Nigeria at large, will begin to reap the opportunities it offers in terms of turning the entire Southern Senatorial district of the State to an economic hub.

Rural Development and Community Extension Service

In order to tackle the persistent challenge of very poor roads to convey farm produce to the market encountered by our farmers, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with the World Bank to open up our rural access roads through the Rural Access Agricultural and Marketing Project (RAAMP). To pilot this project, Molege Road in Ose Local Government has been completed.

We are expecting the World Bank to come and inspect the road and give approval for the commencement of work in other similar roads across the State. Also, in a bid to reduce the level of poverty in the State, a sum of N550 million was distributed to the Small and Medium Scale Business Owners to revitalize their businesses and make them employers of labour.

Mr Speaker, I am pleased to inform you that our Administration has continued to motivate its workforce without relenting by paying six months out of the seven (7) month salary arrears owed the Civil Servants at all levels, by the last Government in the State. We have also ensured that pensions and gratuities of our Senior Citizens are paid as and when due, in accordance with the fiscal realities, across the State. We are committed, deeply, and ready to offset the remaining one (1) month salary arrear early in the next fiscal year.

Promotion of Functional Education and Technological Growth

Distinguished Honourable members, the unimaginable state of deterioration in which we met our school infrastructure on assumption of office, was sobering.

Virtually all public primary schools not designated as Mega-primary school, were in varying degrees of decay occasioned by utter neglect. In the last one year, we have collaborated with UBEC and awarded 598 projects in more than 501 primary schools across the three senatorial districts of the State.

The projects, most of which are already completed, were spread to cover all Local Governments of the State. In addition, over 151 school Projects were also provided through the FGN/ODSG Conditional Grant Scheme.

Job Creation Through Agriculture, Entrepreneurship and
Industrialisation

Mr. Speaker, in line with our promise to create massive jobs for our teaming youths, over 1,000 thousand youths were already trained on various aspects of agricultural production value chain as Agro-preneurs.

100 of these youths are already engaged and working on State owned farms. In addition, we facilitated the training of 5000 youths on the same agricultural value chain by the National Directorate of Employment.

The beneficiaries have just been given their certificates and further programmes to assist them in establishing their projects will commence in January 2019. The multiplier effect of 5000 cottage production businesses in the State cannot be quantified.

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