Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel, on Friday, presented the state 2018 budget estimates to the state House of Assembly.
The budget total is N651.500 billion, which is a significant increase compared with the N485.792 billion that was budgeted for the 2017 fiscal year.
Mr. Emmanuel told the lawmakers that the administration was planning to spend N437.674 billion on Capital Expenditure, N92.697 billion on the Recurrent Expenditure, and N120.859 billion on Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges for the 2018 fiscal year.
The budget, as usual, is to be funded largely through money from the oil derivation fund that would accrue to the oil-rich state.
Mr. Emmanuel said the state expects N200.800 billion from the derivation fund in 2018.
Other sources of funding the budget, according to the governor, are Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) N35.496 billion; Statutory Allocation from the Federation Account, N25.000 billion; Value Added Tax (VAT), N12.000 billion; and Budget Support, N 13.200 billion.
For sectoral allocations in the budget estimates, Road, Works and Transport take the highest share of N211.423 billion.
The governor said he intends to use the money to continue his administration’s “road revolution” in the state.
“The importance and necessity of good roads and an efficient transportation system in the lives of the citizenry and the attraction of investors to the state cannot be over-stressed,” Mr. Emmanuel said.
“To this end, my administration has embarked on massive construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges, improvement and maintenance of standard urban electricity supply, installation, and reactivation of street lights along major roads and streets as well as providing fire prevention and protection equipment.
“To date, 1202 kilometers of road and 17 bridges were constructed, commissioned or at various stages of completion.
“We are constructing over 45 internal roads in Uyo Metropolis covering Shelter Afrique, Osongama and Ewet Housing Estates, several kilometers of internal roads have been commissioned or are ongoing in both Eket and Oron Local Government Areas respectively.
“Eket-Ibeno Road which was impassable has been completed and commissioned. Work has resumed on Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road, following the payment of compensation and other legal issues. The drainage at Nsikak Eduok which was a major problem has been constructed and commissioned. The Information Drive in Uyo has been completed and commissioned and work is ongoing on the 35 kilometers Super highway in Ibaka,” the governor said.
Governor Emmanuel told the lawmakers that he intends to revisit the multi-billion naira Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Center, one of the signature projects of the past administration of Godswill Akpabio, which appeared to have been abandoned for some time now.
Mr. Emmanuel said that part of the reasons he was allocating N14.604 billion to the culture and tourism sector was to enable the government complete the Tropicana which has within it, a Cineplex, Galleria, Malls, Dry and Wet Park, Hotels and Convention Centre.
He said in addition the government would expand the facilities in the Ibom Le Meridien Hotel and Golf Resort, as well as build a Cross/Pilgrims Park in the state in order to boost tourism and generate revenue eventually for the state.
The governor proposed N10.526 billion for education and also expressed his commitment towards the state’s free and compulsory education programme.
The allocations to other sectors are as follows: Health, N8.210 billion; Environment, N2.795 billion; Rural Development, N1.530 billion; Lands, Housing and Urban Development, N54.631 billion; Agriculture, N17.913 billion; Science and Technology, N1.950 billion; and Investment, Commerce and Industry, N6.800 billion.
“We promise a faithful implementation of the Budget for the general good and happiness of our people,” the governor told the lawmakers.
He added, “Our resolve to alleviate poverty and restore hope, create wealth, generate employment, stimulate agriculture and industrial development and maximize the overall well-being of our people is inflexible.”