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Developing self-reliant economy tops Ortom’s N155.6bn 2022 Budget

By Denen Achussah, Mathew Ajai-Kume and Sunday Iduh

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has proposed a budget of N155.6bn for the 2022 fiscal year, with a proposal of N98.7billion as recurrent expenditure while estimates for capital expenditure are pegged at N56.8 billion.

The governor who presented the budget estimate to the state House of Assembly, last week said the focus of the budget was to make the state self-reliant economically.

Christened the “Budget of Economic Advancement and Growth,” the 2022 estimates represent 17. 36 per cent increase or N23.01 billion rise over the 2021 budget which was N134.3 billion.

The recurrent expenditure estimates was increased from N90.8 billion in 2021 to N98.8 billion in the 2022 budget estimates.

However, the 2022 estimates showed a sharp decline in capital expenditure. For instance, N74.9 billion was proposed for capital projects in 2021 and it is now being estimated N56.8 billion in the 2022 fiscal year.

Presenting the Appropriation Bill to the Benue State House of Assembly, Governor Ortom said the 2022 budget would be funded by proceeds from Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and “progress on the privatization of state-owned enterprises.”

The governor said to improve the quality and impact of the expenditure performance data, his administration “will establish a Budget Intelligence Unit to gather intelligence on prices.”

He said: “Our focus in preparing the 2022 budget estimates is on programmes and projects that will take us farther along, on the path to becoming an economically self-reliant federating unit of Nigeria.”

Top on the budget is the economic sector with a proposal of N56.7 billion, making it the highest amount by sectoral estimations.

Followed is the social sector with N46.9 billion while administrative sector is next with N43.8 billion.

Law and Justice take the least sectoral allocation of N8.103bn.

Ortom said payroll reforms will be made to continue following the successful deployment of technology using the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to identify payroll anomalies.

“We will continue to use the budget as an instrument to achieve the goals set out in the Benue State Development Plan 2016 – 2025.

“We will intensify our quest to create opportunities for jobs and wealth for our farmers and entrepreneurs, while supporting our hard-pressed farmers and micro, small and medium enterprises to grow their operations,” Ortom stated.

Meanwhile, reacting to the budget, a political economist, Dr. Bem Ugoh said the increasing recurrent expenditure is a well known problem with developing economies.

According to him, “the rise in expenditures is an indication of a consuming economy.”

He, however, expressed optimism that “the worrisome trend will certainly change, with time.”

 

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