Governor Alex Otti of Abia State, on Tuesday, presented a budget estimate of N567.2 billion for the 2024 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly.
The budget is christened “Budget of New Beginning.”
Otti said, “The 2024 budget proposal targets the expansion of our public infrastructure in line with our new development targets, scaling up access and quality service delivery in the social sector, with a special focus on education and health where we are proposing to commit more than 20 per cent and 15 per cent of the aggregate budget spending, respectively.
“The key distinction in the 2024 budget estimate, however, is in the direction of spending. While the 2023 projection allocated 53 per cent of the entire budget for capital expenditure, our target in the 2024 fiscal year is to spend 84 per cent of the total expenditure on capital projects and commit 16 per cent to recurrent expenditure, as against 47 per cent in the 2023 estimates.”
He said of the proposed figure, government’s estimated total revenue is N166,077,717,058, including earnings from IGR channels, Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, grants from multilateral organisations and income from other revenue sources.
The governor expressed his plan to finance the deficit of N401,162,378,914 partly by new borrowings estimated at N385,271,027,214.
About 50 per cent of this borrowing, he said, will be sourced externally, while the balance will be sourced locally.
According to him, all borrowing in the 2024 fiscal year would be committed strictly to capital development projects with a direct impact on the economy of the state, especially roads, schools and medical facilities, whose impacts on the general economy in the medium to long term would generate the sufficient returns that would enable the state to meet its obligation to the creditors smoothly and ultimately pay off the loans in due course.
Stating that he implemented the 2023 budget of N160.5 billion well, Otti said the projection is that the state would go well past the 60 per cent budget implementation mark achieved in 2022.
“Today’s budget presentation is therefore significant in many ways. First, it is the first full-year budget by our government, deliberately structured to reflect the priorities of the administration on very important frontiers.
“Our goal is to consolidate on the modest gains made in the 2023 budget cycle, especially in the last six months,” he said.
Responding, the Speaker, Emmanuel Emeruwa, described the budget as “robust and capital intensive” and the first time in the history of the state that such amount is budgeted for, and “a robust move that will enhance the economy and every human life.”
He assured the governor that the House of Assembly will consider the bill favourably and with dispatch so that work will not be delayed and for people to see the change in the state.
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