The Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, has signed the state’s 2018 appropriation bill as passed by the Edo State House of Assembly, into law.
At the signing ceremony in Government House, Benin City, on Friday, Mr. Obaseki said the speedy passage of the appropriation bill was remarkable as it shows the harmony between the state’s executive and legislative arms of government.
The 2018 budget estimate which was pegged at N146 billion by the executive, was increased to N150 billion by the House of Assembly to allow for more infrastructural and agricultural projects.
According to him, “We cannot express our gratitude enough as an executive arm of government for this unique and historic event of the signing of our Appropriation Bill before the end of the year. I cannot recall when this sort of thing occurred in Edo State in the last seven to eight years.
“This portends a lot of good things to come. It shows the seriousness of both arms of government and more importantly, it shows that we are working together in the interest of the people of Edo State.”
The governor assured that his administration has set a target of at least 95 per cent performance level for the budget.
“The House is totally aligned with us and agrees with the principle of our budget, which is growth. This is taking a cue from what is happening at the centre. We have to invest in areas that will help us grow the economy, create jobs and improve the revenue of government.”
Mr. Obaseki said that the legislature’s move to allocate N1 billion to livestock production and fisheries as well as the decision to retain the about N1 billion estimate for job creation in the state showed that all appreciated the need to invest in youth and accelerate economic growth.
He noted that the focus on agriculture was to ensure that youth are carried along in development initiatives, adding, “I am particularly grateful that you improved our provisions for critical areas of growth, particularly agriculture.
“In the area of agriculture, I observed that the House increased our estimates significantly by almost 100 per cent. In particular, in the area of livestock and fisheries, there was a N1billion increase.
“This is important because, as you know, we have a lot of initiatives in this regard, especially as it relates to the resettlement programme we have for persons who were trafficked and have now returned, as well as the young people we are encouraging to go into entrepreneurship.”
On job creation, he said, “We also appreciate that you retained a cardinal job creation initiative, which we are promoting for the first time. This is significant and it is a novelty. We appropriated almost a billion naira, which you retained. This will help us train and give skills to young men and women and match them with jobs as part of our programme to create a minimum of 200,000 jobs within four years.
“So, you are not just aligned with us as a government, you are aligned with the principle and thinking on which this administration is anchored.”
The Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Kabiru Adjoto, while presenting the passed budget for assent, said the increase in the budget figures was to enable government drive its developmental goals without financial hiccups.
According to him, “The initial budget was N146 billion but we have increased it to about N150 billion taking into cognisance the prevailing realities. We are confident that this is within a realistic range.”
He said that the parliament identified areas of growth and made minor adjustments in the interest of Edo people, particularly in agriculture and infrastructure.