|Delta 2008 Budget|
BUDGET OF CONSOLIDATION AND HOPE
AN ADDRESS ON THE PROPOSED DELTA STATE YEAR 2008 BUDGET, PRESENTED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, THE GOVERNOR OF DELTA STATE, DR. EMMANUEL EWETA UDUAGHAN, TO THE DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, ASABA, ON DECEMBER 18, 2007
I am profoundly delighted to be in your midst today to perform this important constitutional responsibility of presenting the draft budget proposals of this Administration for the year 2008.
2. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I wish to remark that this occasion, to me, is historic as it is the first Annual Budget of this Administration which came on board on 29th May, 2007. Permit me therefore to use this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to you for the understanding which has continued to exist between the State Legislature and the other arms of government since the inauguration of this Administration.
3. As you well know, an important prerequisite for economic growth in any society is the enthronement of appropriate institutional structures capable of guaranteeing political stability and social order in a State. This is the basic underpinning of the three-point agenda of Peace and Security, Human Capital Development and Physical Infrastructure Development advocated in my inaugural speech as the roadmap of the Government under my Administration. So far, I am glad that this Administration has, to the glory of God, been supported by this noble House and Deltans in general to meet the critical challenge of ensuring peace and security in our polity.
4. I want to reassure you that with the continuation of the close working relationship between the Executive and the Legislature, this Government will, with confidence, continue to guarantee a peaceful enabling environment for judicious utilization of the available resources to improve the quality of life of our people. Indeed, no less is expected of us in Government in view of the fact that the people have not too long ago given us their unequivocal mandate to pilot the affairs of the State. We are obliged to fulfill our part of the covenant.
5. Mr. Speaker, distinguished Members of this honourable House, although this occasion does not call for eulogies, nevertheless, as we look back today, I can say with a measure of confidence and pride that in all areas, the immediate past Administration of His Excellency, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, made landmark contributions to the socio-economic transformation of the State. The achievements of that Administration in all facets of life of the State, challenge us today to work even more assiduously to meet the aspirations of our people.
6. In view of the lessons learnt in the area of project supervision and monitoring these past years, I wish to assure this House that adequate measures are being put in place to ensure closer monitoring of all new and on-going projects in order to derive maximum benefit from our investments.
7. Of course, we recognize the fact that we cannot achieve our plans for the development of the State by relying on statutory allocation from the Federation Account alone. We are resolved to diversify the economy in order to enhance the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) base of the State. In particular, we are determined to bring the informal sector of the State’s economy into our revenue base and we think the Delta State Internal Revenue Card Project (DISR Card) will greatly assist our course. Accordingly, the Board of Internal Revenue would be required to ensure that the scheme comes on stream in the coming year.
8. Furthermore, we are determined to focus extensively on the agricultural and manufacturing sectors through private sector investments. The objective is to create more wealth and employment opportunities for our citizens. However, realizing that our resources from the Federation Account is dwindling as a fall out of the Niger Delta crisis ,and the creation of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), there is a need for more ingenious ways of managing the available scarce funds, I call on Deltans to gird their loins to meet their civic obligations and take active part in the development of our State.
9. As a new Administration, Mr. Speaker, honourable Members of the House, it beholves us to lay the foundation of a systematically organized economy that would be self-sustaining in the years ahead. In this connection, besides the DESOPADEC which would be properly positioned to discharge the role assigned to it creditably, Government is already engaged in discussions with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to ensure that the Commission discharges its responsibility to our State through closer partnership. Let me remark here that we are hopeful that our interaction would soon begin to yield very concrete results.
10. Perhaps, I should use this occasion to intimate this honourable House of the efforts by this Administration to fast track the development of the State through the Integrated Development Programme (IDP) being put in place. The conceptualization of the IDP programme, which would largely depend on overseas and private sector funding, has come a long way. This initiative flows from the realization that given its developmental needs, the total revenue derivable from the revenue sources available to the State is grossly inadequate to achieve any meaningful economic transformation of the State. The IDP initiative, when actualized, will enable Government to continue to meet its obligations to the people while providing an enabling environment and conditions for socio-economic and infrastructure development of the State through the inflow of overseas and private sector funding.
11. Mr. Speaker, honourable Members of the House, at this juncture, I wish with your permission to proceed with the review of the performance of the year 2007 budget and, thereafter, to present the intentions of the State Government in the coming year as articulated in the 2008 draft budget of Consolidation and Hope for the consideration of this honourable House.
REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2007 BUDGET
12. The broad objectives of the 2007 budget, among other things, include:
Ø completion of all on-going projects;
Ø improving basic services – particularly Education and Healthcare;
Ø improving the quality of infrastructure – particularly Roads, Water and Power transmission and distribution to riverine areas;
Ø enhancing agricultural production with specific emphasis on staple food production and economic exploitation of cassava;
Ø creating an enabling environment that would ensure a smooth transition from one civilian administration to another;
Ø expanding the opportunities for stronger economic growth, particularly in the rural areas; and
Ø promoting a sustainable linkage between Industries and Agricultural production.
COMPONENTS OF THE 2007 BUDGET
13. In the year 2007 fiscal year, the State Government budgeted the sum of N189,959,900,152 for its services. The profile of the budget was as follows:
S/No. Revenue Sources Amount (N) Percentage (%)
(i) Internally Generated
Revenue 16,779,971,612 8.83
(ii) Statutory Allocation 90,170,054,115 47.47
(iii) Value Added Tax (VAT) 3,045,596,870 1.60
(iv) Other Capital Receipts 79,964,277,555 42.10
Total 189,959,900,152 100.00
S/No. Expenditure Profile
Recurrent Expenditure 70,413,109,710 37.07
Capital Expenditure 119,546,790,442 62.93
T o t a l 189,959,900,152 100.00
YEAR 2007 BUDGET PERFORMANCE
14. In the first nine (9) months ended September, a total of N105,861,598,611 was received as revenue as against a proportionate approved estimates of N142,469,925,114. This represents a budget performance of 74.30%. The breakdown of the revenue receipts from individual revenue sources is provided here under:
Sources Approved Proportionate Estimates
Jan. – Sept.
(N) Actual Receipt Jan. – Sept.
Allocation 67,627,540,586 66,789,801,176 98.76
(iii) Value Added Tax 2,284,197,653 2,848,469,840 124.70
(iv) Other Capital Receipts 59,973,208,166 27,235,122,646 45.41
Total 142,469,925,114 105,861,598,611 74.30
15. As could be noticed, Internally Generated Revenue Receipts from almost all revenue sources during the period under review (January – September, 2007), was N8,988bn out of the proportionate approved revenue estimates of N12.585bn for the period, representing a budget performance of 71.42%. The performance was remarkable, considering the fact that the economy of the State is yet to achieve full throttle. Nevertheless, efforts will be sustained and intensified to ensure that Internally Generated Revenue estimates targets from all sources by the Board of Internal Revenue are not only met but surpassed during the tenure of this Administration.
16. Revenue from Statutory Allocation during the period January – September, 2007 recorded a commendable budget performance of 98.6% as against the proportionate approved estimates of N67.628bn, actual Statutory Allocation receipts was N66.790bn. On the other, N2.848bn was realized as Value Added Tax as against the proportionate approved estimates of N2.284bn, representing a budget performance of 124.70% which was also remarkable.
17. On the expenditure side, the recurrent expenditure for the period under review (January – September, 2007) was N58,120,291,218 as against the proportionate approved estimates of N52,809,832,282 for the period. This represents a budget performance of 110.06%. The variance is accounted for by domestic loan repayment, the implementation of the remuneration package of transport and furniture allowances (350% and 300% of annual basic salary, respectively) to elected, appointed and career officers of the State and increased overhead costs. Another contributory factor was the surge in personnel costs arising from implementation of 15% salary increase in the Public Service and the grant given by Government to Local Government Councils towards the implementation of the monetization of allowances at the primary school level. The grant was given to save our education programme at the primary school level from collapse owing to the strike action embarked upon by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) over the non-implementation of the monetization package.
18. The approved capital expenditure estimates for the 2007 fiscal year was N119,546,790,442. The proportionate approved capital expenditure estimates for the period January – September was N89,660,092,831. However, only the sum of N34,951,322,263 was spent. The position presents a budget performance of 38.98% for the period under review. A breakdown of the Sectoral performance for the period is as follows:
S/No. Sector Proportionate
(N) Actual Expenditure
Jan – Sept.
(i) Economic 27,477,297,082 10,257,393,106 37.33
(ii) Social 12,900,551,701 7,009,544,398 54.34
(iii) Environmental 16,237,708,574 11,135,650,235 68.58
(iv) Administration 6,794,535,475 3,154,573,754 46.43
(v) Delta State Oil Producing Areas Dev. Commission
Total 89,660,092,831 34,951,322,263 38.98
YEAR 2008 BUDGET
19. Mr. Speaker, distinguished Members of this honourable House, I have just given a brief review of the implementation of the 2007 budget. Permit me to present to you, the budget proposals for the 2008 fiscal year.
20. I crave your indulgence, first of all, Mr. Speaker, honourable Members of the House, to state for the records that this is the first annual appropriation proposals by my Administration to this Honourable House. Therefore, it is both a budget of Consolidation of the achievements of the immediate past Administration of the State and of Hope for planned development initiatives that will take us to the next level of improved socio-economic wellbeing. The proposals being presented to you have taken into consideration a sustainable development vision that is in accord with the afore-mentioned three-point agenda of this Administration.
21. It is my profound honour and privilege to present to you, a budget proposal of N148,638,106,045 for the 2008 fiscal year. The amount is made up of N70,782,559,481 or 47.62% for Recurrent Expenditure and N77,855,546,564 or 52.38% for Capital Expenditure.
22. The year 2008 budget proposal shows a decrease of N41,321,794,107 or 21.75% compared to the year 2007 approved budget of N189,959,900,152. The decrease is primarily as a result of the cautionary approach to statutory revenue expectations and the need to cut down on the level of budget deficit.
23. We have reflected deeply on more efficient ways of doing government business. Among other strategies, the Project Monitoring Unit of the Governor’s Office has been upgraded to a Directorate. Thus, project supervision, monitoring and certification will now be made more painstaking, given some observed lapses in handling of projects execution in the past. Furthermore, contractors and project ministries will be made to realize the need to be more alive to their responsibilities with regard to project execution to ensure value for money. Our pursuit in this direction will be to achieve a sustainable development infrastructure and services that would impact positively on the lives of our people.
24. Mr. Speaker, honourable Members of the House, with the foregoing in mind, the broad objectives of the 2008 budget, among other things, include:
Ø completion of all on-going projects in the State;
Ø poverty reduction and the empowerment of the citizens;
Ø improving the quality of infrastructure, particularly roads, water and power distribution to riverine areas;
Ø increasing access to improved quality healthcare, education and social services;
Ø diversification of the economic base of the State to ensure the optimization of the opportunities offered by the unique position of the State as an oil producing State;
Ø re-defining the role of Government as a facilitator and catalyst for the private sector to thrive and create wealth;
Ø emphasizing public-private sector partnership in all facets of the socio-economic and infrastructure
development of the State;
Ø cultivation of an investment-friendly climate to encourage investors, especially in the Small and Medium Scale Industries;
Ø enhancing agricultural production and the promotion of sustainable linkage between agricultural production and industries;
Ø accelerating capital development projects in the oil-producing areas;
SOURCES OF FUND
25. The main sources of funds for the 2008 budget are:
S/No. Sources of Revenue Amount
(i) Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)
Allocation 106,697,827,673 72.66
(iii) Value Added Tax (VAT) 4,255,578,250 2.86
(iv) Other Capital Receipts 17,488,020,000 11.77
Total 147,338,106,045 100.00
INTERNALLY GENERATED REVENUE
26. We have given very deep thought on how best to ensure that all revenues due to the State are collected in order to boost the revenue base of Government. As earlier mentioned, we have put in place an Inter-Ministerial Committee to review the rates and fees chargeable for Government services. We have also considered the DSIR Card option to bring the self-employed and the informal segment of the State’s economy into our tax base. In addition to these, the Board of Internal Revenue will be strengthened to make its administrative machinery perform in top form. It is on account of our confidence that the various measures will yield positive results that we propose a revenue of N18,896,680,122 from Internally Generated Revenue for the year 2008 as against the sum of N16,779,971,612 under the approved 2007 budget. The IGR estimates for 2008 is higher than the 2007 approved estimates by N2,116,708,510 or 12.6%.
27. As it is well known, the primary source of revenue of Government is Statutory Allocation. We have proposed the sum of N107,997,827,673 in the 2008 draft budget as statutory allocation as against the 2007 figure of N90,170,054,115. The 2008 proposed estimates is N17,827,773,558 or 19.77% higher than that of 2007.
28. The sum of N17,488,020,000 is proposed as Capital
Receipts for 2008. The proposal was informed by the resolve to shun domestic loans as much as is practically possible. Instead we intend to offload some of our investments in the capital market to channel the funds towards human and infrastructure development purposes.
29. The total recurrent expenditure estimates for 2008 is N70,782,559,481. This, among other items, is made up of personnel costs of N32,775,000,000 or 46.30% and overhead costs of N21,510,118,895 or 30.39%. The personnel cost proposal for 2008 is higher than the 2007 approved personnel costs of N28,713,677,955 by N4,061,322,045 or 14.14% while the overhead costs proposal for 2008 is less than the 2007 approved overhead costs of N30,654,530,000 by N9,144,411,105 or 29.83%.
30. Mr. Speaker, honourable Members of the House, whereas the increase in the proposed personnel costs for 2008 is due to the proposed implementation of the contributory pensions scheme and the 5% mark up of the actual personnel costs of 2007 to cater for staff promotions and incremental credits. On other hand, the decrease in the proposed overhead costs for 2008 is due to deliberate Government policy to free funds for capital expenditure. It is important to inform you that budgetary provisions towards the contributory pension’s scheme will continue to put pressure on Government finances for some time. For 2008 the sum of N2,785,875,00 is proposed to meet the contributions of Government towards the scheme. We have no doubt that the implementation of the pension’s reform is a positive venture for the future health of the State’s public service.
CONSOLIDATED REVENUE FUNDS CHARGES
31 In order for this administration to meet its consolidated revenue charges, the sum of N16,497,440,586 is proposed for 2008. The provision is N5,452,538,831 or 49.37% higher than the approved estimates of N11,044,901,755 for 2007. The increase is due, among other things, to the provision made for the implementation of the contributory pension’s scheme and the special allowances specified in the remuneration law for State officials remunerated from the vote as well as the repayment of domestic loans.
32. The component of the consolidated revenue funds charges are as indicated hereunder:
S/No. Component of the
Funds Charges Amount
(i) Remuneration of Statutory
(ii) Pensions and Gratuities 3,340,000,000
(iii) Contributory Pensions 2,785,875,000
(iv) Internal Debt Service 50,000,000
(v) Loan Repayment – Domestic 7,880,074,097
(vi) Loan Repayment – External 600,000,000
(vii) 10% Allocation to Local
(viii) 2.5% Contribution to Local
33. The proposed capital expenditure estimates for 2008 is N77,855,546,564. The proposal is N41,691,243,878 or 34.87% lower than the 2007 approved capital budget of N119,546,790,442. The decrease is due mainly to the planned approach to capital expenditure in the coming year and the resolve of Government to avoid deficit financing as much as is practically possible. Specifically, the Sectoral breakdown is as stated hereunder:
S/No. Sector Amount
(i) Economic 15,662,351,336 20.12
(ii) Social 9,383,569,131 12.05
(iii) Environmental 13,192,554,313 16.94
(iv) Administration 7,617,071,784 9.78
(v) Delta State Oil
Producing Areas Dev. Commission 30,000,000,000
(vi) Contingency Fund
Total 77,855,546,564 100.00
34. The sectoral allocation of funds shows clearly that emphasis in the 2008 capital estimates proposals is on the economic and environmental sectors which are the growth-driving sectors of our economy. We are resolved to stimulate economic growth by providing conducive operational environment and creating employment opportunities in order to increase productivity in our economy. We believe that these pursuits will stimulate self-dependent economic pursuits by our people, boost personal incomes and reduce poverty in our midst.
35. As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Speaker, honourable Members of the House, we are resolved to consolidate the achievements of the immediate past Administration of this State as well as chart courses that will boost the economic development of our State in the coming years. The 2008 budget of Consolidation and Hope will therefore focus on the completion of on-going projects and seize new initiatives, including the Integrated Development programme and the outcome of our discussions with the Niger Delta Development Commission to fast track the development of our State.
36. The 2008 capital budget estimates proposals are tailored towards the economic growth of the State. In this regard, the economic sector which includes Energy, Commerce and Cooperatives, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Finance, Transportation, Tourism, Urban and Regional Planning, Housing and Sewerage have been adequately addressed. Issues such as water supply, housing, sewerage and urban and regional planning which is part of the environmental sector and the social sector comprising health, education, social development and information, have similarly been addressed.
37. With your permission, Mr. Speaker, distinguished honourable Members, I will now throw highlight on some of the policy thrust of the 2008 estimates proposals.
38. We intend, in the coming year, to increase the tempo of construction and rehabilitation of township and trunk roads across the State as there is no gainsaying the pivotal role that efficient transportation system plays in the economic life of a people. We will accordingly improve on the achievements recorded in the State’s intercity transportation system as well as boost riverine transportation.
39. Accordingly, we shall provide impetus for the construction of the Ode-Itsekiri bridge, Olomu bridge, Okerenkoko to Kokodiagbene and Ubafan to Madagho roads, Koko-Ugbenu road dualisation and Asaba airport. The reconstruction of township roads in Asaba Capital Territory and the on-going dualisation of PTI-Jakpa road will receive adequate attention. We also intend to commence the dredging of the Orogodo river and the construction of associated erosion control measures in Agbor and environs.
40. Mr. Speaker, honourable Members, the policy thrust is anchored on massive food production for our teeming population. Among strategies to be pursued in this direction, are increased access of our farmers to fertilizers and improved seedlings. Observed lapses in these vital inputs have contributed to the inability of farmers to increase their productivity. This time around, therefore, stricter monitoring of the distribution of farm inputs meant for all categories of farmers will be ensured. In addition, the tractor hire Unit and Extension Services of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources will be strengthened to perform their roles creditably.
41. We also intend to explore partnerships in agricultural ventures with the private sector as well as provide appropriate incentives for private investments, in the overall pursuit of increased production in the agricultural sector.
(i) Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, in furtherance of the achievements of the immediate past Administration, we intend to progress the investment portfolio of Government. Vigorous efforts will be made towards the completion of the Ogbe-Ijoh, Ogheye, and Sapele modern markets. Also the Uwvie modern market in Ogbolokposo, Uwvie Local Government Area and Ogbogonogo modern market in Asaba will be put into use early in the year. We will exploit the Integrated Development Programme initiative to create investment-related infrastructure platform for the inflow of both domestic and foreign investments into the State.
(ii) In this respect, we shall pursue vigorously the establishment of the Asaba Business District to take advantage of the vibrant Onitsha market and the Warri Business District to take advantage of the oil and gas sector in that environment. We shall therefore commence the construction of the Asaba airport and the Asaba International Conference centre in 2008. In addition, we are partnering with the Private Sector to commence the Asaba Modern Market and the Entertainment Centre. We are approaching the Federal Government on the possibility of increasing the runway of the Osubi airport to take bigger aircrafts. The Nigerian navy has returned a portion of the land they acquired in Effurun which has not been put into use. We are partnering with the Private sector to build a modern shopping and entertainment complex in the land close to the Effurun roundabout.
(iii) Conscious of the fact that Seaports are very important in our industralisation drive, we have been discussing with authorities of NPA to improve on the utilization of the inland ports in the State especially the Warri port, by the dredgeing of the Escravos bar. Also our application for the conversion of the Koko port to an Export free zone is being pursued with new vigour and seriousness. This will attract a lot of industries to the State. We have also identified a 26km stretch in our coastline which can take at least four Deep Seaports and will be the quickest route in and out of Nigeria in terms of port activities. Our IDP team is already packaging a proposal that will be sent to the Federal Government for the development of this port in conjuction with the Private Sector. If developed, this port will decongest all the other ports in Nigeria.
(iv) We are also partnering with the bank of Industries (BOI) to reactivate and refocus our small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) as we believe that this is the main nucleus for the development of our industrial sector.
43. The State has in the last couple of years made huge investments in the energy sector. Given, the role of electricity in economic development and growth, we intend to provide more impetus in order to ensure that the investments already made in the sector yield the desired objectives. We shall therefore, as a deliberate policy, pursue the strengthening of both the power transmission and distribution systems within the State.
44. We shall also religiously pursue the actualization of the on-going rural electrification programme, particularly the extension of the national grid to oil producing communities. The seriousness with which Government intends to pursue the matter has already seen the re-location of the project from under the general sector – Derivation Funds Project- of the 2007 approved budget to the Ministry of Energy in the draft 2008 budget. Furthermore, in pursuit of the peace and security agenda of this administration, we shall vigorously pursue the installation of street lights in major cities in the State and the maintenance and reactivation of existing schemes.
45. The IDP has also developed a Delta State Gas Master Plan to enable the State buy into the National Gas Master Plan. In this regards, the State will be actively involved in the upstream and downstream sector of the gas industry as the state has about 40% of the gas reserve of the country. The IDP is working seriously with the Private sector and NNPC officials to have gas gathering facilities and a ‘gas village’ in the Forcados-Escravos axis that will mainly target the domestic market. In addition, we have indicated interest in being part of the construction of the Delta State stretch of the National Gas Network.
46. The provision of portable water for our people is a priority programme of this administration. While effort will be made to complete on-going water projects State-wide and some new ones started in riverine communities, the Warri/Effurun water supply project will receive special attention to ensure that the project which pre-dates the creation of the State is finally actualized.
47. Mr. Speaker, Members of this honourable House, health they say is wealth and this administration is desirous of improving the total wellbeing of our people. We therefore intend in the coming year to intensify efforts towards the completion and equipping of the State Specialist Hospital, Oghara. The ongoing construction of a Central Hospital in Asaba will also be vigorously pursued. Similarly, the expansion, renovation, rehabilitation and equipping of existing hospitals and other health institutions will be pursued.
48. We intend also in the coming year to continue with the implementation of the free maternal healthcare programme of this administration. Similarly, State-wide sensitization on the prevention and reduction of the spread of HIV/AIDS as well as the subsidization of drugs for the treatment of affected persons will be given a new impetus. The progress so far achieved in the State in the treatment of malaria and tuberculosis will receive the same attention through aggressive health education.
49. Mr. Speaker, distinguished honourable Members of the House, as you all know, human capital development is one of the tripod agenda of this administration designed to take our people to the next level of prosperity. In this pursuit we intend to accord education priority attention. Accordingly, our Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, including the College of Physical Education, Mosogar, will receive appreciable attention. Indeed, the accreditation of courses in the Polytechnics and Colleges of Education will be vigorously pursued. The Faculty of Engineering, Oleh Campus of the Delta State University will receive appreciable attention.
50. We also intend to increase the provision of school furniture and carry out the rehabilitation and equipping of schools to create conducive learning environment in our educational institutions. The momentum has been set by the immediate last Administration which channeled 60% of the savings from external debt repayment as a result of the exiting from the Paris Club of creditors to the educational sub-sector in a determined effort to achieve the set target of the Millennium Development Goals. We intend to keep the tempo.
51. The future of a people lies with their youth. This dictum is the bed-rock of the policy of Government towards our youths. We believe that the energies of our youth can be harnessed through purposeful orientation and education towards the development of our State. In this connection, we intend to re-assess the policy of Government towards the development of Youth Development and Skills Acquisition Centers and the Songhai Delta with a view to making the programmes more functional. In the same direction, the Micro Credit Scheme has already be given a new impetus with the appointment of an Executive Assistant on Micro Credit. We are to synergize the programmes to provide gainful self-employment for our youths.
DELTA STATE OIL PRODUCING AREASCOMMISSION
52. In accordance with the law setting up the Commission, we have set aside 50% of the derivation revenue for the development of oil producing communities. This explains the shortfall in the capital expenditure proposals for other sectors. The sum of N30bn has been earmarked as accruable from derivation revenue to the Commission.
53. Mr. Speaker, honourable Members, we are resolved to ensuring that the funds to be disbursed to the Commission are appropriately utilized and accounted for. Accordingly, We will ensure that funds released to the Commission are applied towards the execution of properly planned projects which are focused on the socio-economic and infrastructure development of the oil producing communities with appropriate linkages and synergies with the development programmes of Government Ministries. I have accordingly required the Commission to submit its year 2008 budget proposals to me for vetting before being presented to this honourable Assembly.
54. Mr. Speaker, honourable Members of the House, we are conscious of the commitments we are making in the budget proposals before you. We are equally aware that observance of enacted appropriation law, high fiscal discipline, strict adherence to due process and the exercise of a good measure of control over expenditure are necessary ingredients towards the achievement of desired results. We pledge to uphold these salient virtues during the period we are constitutionally allowed to implement the presented budget estimates proposals when appropriated.
55. To assure you of our resolve to faithfully implement the 2008 budget, permit me to inform you that:
(i) the project supervision function is now being handled by a Directorate under the leadership of a Commissioner. Thus, project supervision and certification will now be made more painstaking given the discovered lapses in the handling of projects execution in the past. Furthermore, Contractors and project Ministries will now realize the need to be more alive to their responsibilities to the State to ensure high value for money as project execution will no longer be business as usual;
(ii) the Economic Intelligence Unit of the Ministry of Economic Planning has been strengthened to serve as a due process outfit for Government;
(iii) the Public Complaints Desk of the Ministry of Economic Planning, which has remained an invaluable instrument for ensuring that the State receives value for its investments, has been strengthened to have wider breath and depth in its activities; and
(iv) henceforth, any Government official who misleads the State to be short-changed in its investment in projects will be appropriately sanctioned.
56. Mr. Speaker, distinguished Members, I sincerely express my profound gratitude and that of all members of the executive arm of Government to you for making the presentation of the budget proposals and appropriation bill for 2008 possible today.
57. Mr. Speaker, honourable Members, it is important to remind us of the need for ‘all hands to be on deck’ if we must actualize the goals and objectives which we have set to achieve in the coming year. On our part, we are resolved to meticulously and vigorously pursue the path we have set for ourselves towards the provision of qualitative infrastructure and services for our people.
58. Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot conclude this address without putting on record my gratitude to the good people of Delta State for their unflinching love and resilient support for this Administration. Let me again assure that ours, being the government of the people by the people will under all circumstances, be for the people. Let us as Deltans and one big family, continue to live in peace and harmony with one another.
59. Mr. Speaker, honourable Members of the House, I thank you for your kind attention and I wish you the presence and guidance of God in all your endeavours.
60. Thank you and God bless.
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR,