Obinna Chima highlights key focus areas in the 2020 Appropriation Bill recently presented to the Ogun State House of Assembly by Governor Dapo Abiodun.
Since he assumed office this year, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has never hidden his desire to unleash the economic potential of the state.
This, has seen his initiative policies to ensure that the state is placed on the path of sustainable growth, which has seen him paying greater attention to on infrastructure development, social welfare and well-being development, healthcare development, environmental and physical planning, education, youth empowerment, culture and religion, agriculture, sports, among others.
This was why in his address during the presentation of the 2020 Appropriation Bill to the State House of Assembly, exactly 187 days after he assumed office, the governor explained that in line with his administration's strategic roadmap, his team has been able to set the building blocks for the sustainable development of the state.
In the maiden edition of his budget titled, 'Budget to Build Our Future Together,' he said his focus has been on creating an enabling environment for accountability, transparency, equity and fairness in the conduct of government affairs. This, according to him would help in creating an enduring economic future for Ogun State and individual prosperity for our people.
Abiodun said so far, his administration has embarked on programmes anchored on non-negotiable imperatives and key institutional framework.
2019 Budget Performance Review
The state's 2019 budget was pegged at a total of N400.323 billion. The recurrent expenditure was N149.67 Billion, representing 37 per cent of the budget; whilst capital expenditure stood at N250.65 billion, representing 63 per cent of the total budget size.
The budget was to be funded with N159.24 Billion expected from the Internally Generated Revenue and N60 billion from the Federation Account. The capital receipts were expected to be N101.08 billion. The government also expected N80 billion from road refund from the federal government. However, as at 31st October, 2019, the overall budget proportionate performance was 36 per cent.
2020 Budget Estimates and Policy Thrust
Ogun State is an emerging mega economy, which enjoys very close proximity to Lagos, the fifth largest economy in Africa. According to the state governor, the action plan for the 2020 budget would continue with the tradition of exploring means of observing prudent financial management system, thereby reducing cost of administration and plug waste.
He stressed that the state would do more to further localise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to continue to create individual prosperity for the people of Ogun State. The 2020 budget was estimated at N449.974 billion. A breakdown of this showed that total recurrent expenditure is N180.842 billion, which is 39.6 per cent of the total budget estimate.
On the other hand, the capital expenditure was estimated at N269.132 billion, which is 60.3 per cent of total budget size. In addition, while expenditure on salaries and allowances was estimated at N83.238 billion, which is 18 per cent which is 18 per cent of the total budget; pension and gratuities was estimated to gulp N25.945 billion, which is six percent of total; and total personnel cost was put at N109.183 billion, which is 24 per cent of the total budget size.
However, the budget is to be funded from proposed internally generated revenue (IGR) of N254.946 billion, which is 57 per cent of the total budget. Other sources of funding for the budget includes expected statutory allocation of N43.431 billion, which 10 per cent of total; expected revenue from VAT of N20.031 billion, which is five percent of total size of the estimated budget as well as capital and other receipts which is N129.566 billion.
Further budget breakdown, showed that the estimate which is in line with the administration's Five Strategic Pillars, essentially coined I.S.E.Y.A, was made of: Infrastructure - N107.964 billion; Social Wellbeing and Welfare - N128.067 billion; Education - N91.609 billion; Youth Empowerment - N7.896 billion; Agriculture - N21.634 billion; and Others - N92.804 billion.
Commenting on the budget estimates, Abiodun said: "It is almost a routine that proposals are made but rarely fully implemented. What we have brought on board is to walk our talk. We have emplaced a mechanism for a workable Public Financial Management System that eliminates leakages and ensures efficient and judicious use of our common wealth.
"Some of the action plans in this regard are: full automation of the State Finance functions; strict adherence to the proposed Fiscal Responsibility Law; instituting Credit Rating for Ogun State by internationally accepted rating agencies; strengthening the internal audit functions; and, timely publication of audited accounts.
"As a matter of fact, we are currently reviewing the State Debt Management Strategy. We equally issued an Executive Order for the establishment of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission for prudent financial management of the State's resources.
"In addition to the Public-Private Partnership Law which has just been passed by the Ogun State House of Assembly, we have carried out a Staff Biometrics and Payroll Audit; Implementation of Treasury Management Solution for single view and efficiency in treasury and payment processing; as well as financial sustainability assessment. All these steps, apart from preventing leakages, have also helped to achieve prudent financial management, attract financial support from financial institutions, multilateral agencies and development partners, and have, in fact, started to manifest positively in successful implementation of the "Building our Future Together" Agenda in the six months of our Administration. We shall not waiver."
The governor who stressed that his administration was committed to creating a better, enduring and prosperous Ogun State, pointed out that this would come at a cost. This would help to take into focus the financial implications of our common cause, he explained.
"That is, we must think of how much we need; how we raise such funds; how such funds will be judiciously expended; and how well such funds will be accounted for. The bulk of this falls within the purview of the public service.
"We all know the public service is the engine room of any successful government. This, we have commenced with the preparation of our 2020 Advance Proposals and we have to think outside the box to ensure that we generate adequate funds to finance our development projects.
"One important aspect of fund generation is our Public-Private Partnership approach. It is crucial, if we want to engender successful public-private partnerships that we build a culture of good governance which includes but not limited to transparent Public Financial Management. This will assure our partners of our commitment towards engendering successful public-private partnerships.
"Therefore, we have to improve on our processes and procedures so as to match up with the pace of our partners. We have to show that the partnership will be mutually beneficial. Above all, we have to show that we are truly a worthy partner. And, I am very sure that the Ogun State Public Service is capable of this," he added.
Key Focus Areas
Commenting on the focus areas for his administration, the governor pointed out that infrastructure, is key to development.
"We have been able to demonstrate our commitment to the continued socio-economic development of our dear State, particularly in Education, Health, Infrastructure and other key sectors that have direct and positive impact on our people.
"You will recall that we requested that our people select the roads that should attract immediate attention in each of the 236 wards across our dear State. These roads are receiving immediate intervention. This is in addition to government's identified projects that will be spread across the three Senatorial Districts of our dear State.
"We have started the rehabilitation of rural and township roads across the three Senatorial Districts of our dear State. This necessitated the establishment of the Ogun State Public Works Agency (OGPWA) which has proven to be an efficient, responsive and cost-effective strategy of rehabilitating existing roads," he explained.
In the area of security, he said his administration has continued to complement efforts of the federal government by supporting all the security agencies in the state.
"It is only when security is assured that individuals can venture out in search of their livelihood and to meet other basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter and self-actualisation.
"And, for a state that desires more private investment, there is the need to assure the citizenry and investors of safety of their lives and investments.
"It is on this significant premise that we amended the law establishing the Ogun State Security Trust Fund, reinvigorated the Fund and made it private sector driven to provide the needed finances, ensure accountability and good corporate governance. The Chairman of the Fund is Mr. Bolaji Balogun, Chairman of Lafarge," he added.
Also, to address infrastructural and staff deficits in the health institutions, Abiodun said his administration has commenced the rehabilitation of the primary health centres across State and also so approved the immediate recruitment of medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical personnel for the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu and other medical facilities.
"The State Hospital, Ilaro has been renovated and this will be extended to other state health facilities. Whilst addressing the manpower shortage and embarking on physical renovation, our attention is also on procurement of medical equipment in the state hospitals.
"Some of the recently procured equipment include, anaesthesia machine, oxygen concentrator, and delivery beds as well as construction of standard dialysis units," he revealed.
In the area of education, he recalled that during the electioneering campaign, he promised to restructure the education sector, saying that immediately after his administration was inaugurated, he declared a state of emergency in the sector towards repositioning it for better performance.
"We consider this our bond. And, I can confidently say that we have kept our words. This is self-evident by the stability brought to our Institutions. Ogun State is the education capital of Nigeria with the highest number of tertiary institutions in Nigeria. With a consciousness of our heritage in the knowledge industry, we have continued to ensure a mutually-beneficial relationship between the town and the gown by providing a platform that creates and strengthens regular interface between the industry and the academia," Abiodun added.
"Our administration will continue to deepen its zeal for the empowerment of the teeming population of youths in our dear State. Empowerment of the youths through sports, creative arts, cultural activities, tourism and entertainment will continue to provide the impetus in moulding these leaders of tomorrow for the task of nation building.
"The launch of the Ogun Job Portal, jobs.ogunstate.gov.ng, is part of our administration's commitment to ensure that our graduates and those with vocational skills across the State will give their information and we will endeavour to match them with potential employers, training opportunities, not only within the Public Service but also with the Private Sector as our partners.
"So far, over 120,000 applicants have been able to submit their applications for jobs on the Ogun Job Portal. Of these, about 15,000 of them would have been gainfully employed by the end of the year- including the first batch of 10,000 engaged in the Anchor Borrowers scheme.
For the agricultural sector, he said the state has keyed into the Central Bank of Nigeria's Anchor Borrowers' Programme (ABP), describing it as as a veritable scheme for fighting unemployment and ensuring food security.
Abiodun, said Ogun had already keyed into the initiative with anchors in rice, maize and cassava production.
"We have latched on to the Anchor Borrowers' Programme, which is basically a programme that requires that you identify an anchor, who would be the processor of off-taker and then you line up your unemployed youths, who want to be agri-prenuers," Abiodun stated.
According to him, Ogun State selected the first 10,000 persons in its job portal to benefit from the programme by allocating to them a hectare of land each.
Explaining further, the governor stated that, "And this anchor, who happens to be somebody processing cassava and requires 200 tonnes of cassava daily, has committed to an off-take price, the CBN has provided us with funding to clear the land, the anchor and the CBN are providing us the seedlings to plant.
"We are going to provide the extension service, the CBN would pay them stipends until harvest and we intend to scale this up over the next five months to about 50,00 people. So, it affords us the opportunity to build capacity to employ our people and also achieve food security. Consequently, we are believing that with this, we would see a reduction in criminal tendency.
"Ogun State has keyed into it and this is our first step in turning Ogun State into the food basket of this nation. We have anchors in cassava, rice and maize production as well. For us, we are very excited and we see it as a way to employ our youths, keep them busy, build capacity and turn them into agri-preneurs."