Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue has presented the 2016 appropriation bill of N133.4 billion to the state House of Assembly for approval.
The bill, tagged “Budget of trust, credibility and confidence”, was presented to the legislature on Thursday in Makurdi.
He gave the total revenue estimate as N133.4 billion
He explained that the recurrent expenditure would gulp N65.9 billion, representing 49.45 per cent of the total budget while capital expenditure stood at N67.4 billion, representing 50.5 per cent.
Mr. Ortom explained that the estimates were slightly lower than those of the outgoing year by 1.48 per cent, adding that his administration was not deterred by the current economic downturn in the country.
In 2015, the state presented an appropriation bill of N135.4 billion, including a supplementary budget of N24. 5 billion.
The governor stated that the major sources of income for the state were statutory allocations, Value Added Tax and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
He expressed optimism that more revenue would be generated for the state through the Board of Internal Revenue owing to the restructuring of the organisation.
He announced that the 2016 budget was aimed at enhancing workers’ welfare, especially in housing, teachers’ training, renovation and furnishing of selected primary and post primary schools in the state.
“We will train 6,000 secondary school teachers;10,000 primary school teachers; renovate and furnish at least 400 primary schools and build new classrooms.
“At least 44 secondary schools will also be renovated and furnished.
“To promote welfare of civil servants, this administration will embark on Owner Occupier Housing scheme, using mortgage financing.
“This will ensure that many civil servants own their houses before retirement from service.”
He stated that the state government was evolving new and smarter policies to sustain the delivery of democratic dividends to the people.
The governor further said that the budget was divided into five different sectors of administration, economic, law and justice, regional and social sectors.
He said administration would gulp N21.9 billion, while the economic subhead would cost N58 billion.
He said the appropriation had accommodated Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in compliance with the template of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).
He, therefore, appealed to the legislature to expedite the passage of the bill.
Receiving the appropriation bill, the Speaker, Benue House of Assembly, Terkimbi Ikyange, assured the governor that it would be given accelerated hearing.
Mr. Ikyange, however, expressed appreciation to Mr. Ortom for presenting the budget before the end of 2015 and assured that the assembly would discharge its oversight duties to ensure its full implementation.