Delta proposes N389b 2020 budget, allocates more funds for capital expenditure

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The Delta State government yesterday approved a budget proposal of N389b and allocated N217b for capital projects compared to N171b appropriated for current expenditure.

Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, who briefed journalists on the outcome of the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting in Asaba, disclosed that the SEC took hard decisions and recorded other relevant approvals, while the Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr. Barry Gbe, took journalists through highlights of the fiscal proposal.

“The governor directed that all commissioners must, as a matter of necessity, take steps to visit and inspect their projects and programmes. And that he will not tolerate a situation where commissioners sit back in their offices without inspecting their projects and programmes.

On his part, Gbe said his ministry had presented the budget proposals before the SEC for ratification before taking it to the Delta State House of Assembly for final approvals.

He said, “Total budget size was N389b as against 2019 N390b, about N1b difference. That is to say the micro-economic framework that gave birth to the current budget is similar to what we used for next year’s appropriation.

“In September, I met the Exco with my fiscal strategy papers (FSP), with an indicative framework of 2.18m barrels of crude oil per day anchored on $55 per barrel. But we have to rely on what happens at the federal level, which used an indicative price of $57 per barrel.

“This led us to adjust our assumptions to what is obtainable at the federal level. That gave birth to the N350b that we initially submitted in our FSP to arrive at N389b.”

Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa disclosed that the state government had commenced the review of its agriculture policy to make agriculture a thriving business in the state.

He stated this at the celebration of the 39th World Food Day (WFD) in Asaba.

Okowa, who was represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Julius Egbedi, said this year’s theme, “Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World,” was aimed at sensitising farmers and all families on nutrition-sensitive agriculture.

“The aim is to sensitise our farmers and household families on issues of diet, food supply, distribution, climate, and nutrition-sensitive agriculture, as well as improved agricultural production at all levels.”

“To this end, the state government is poised to ensure that all stakeholders in the agriculture sector are aided with the right policy to provide the needed environment for decision making on food production, processing, packaging, and marketing.

“Currently, the Delta State Agriculture Policy is being reviewed to ensure a new policy focus that will promote agriculture as a business; that will create jobs, wealth and build peace across the state,” Okowa said.

Egbedi, whose address was read by Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Austin Oghoro, said the state government prioritised the agriculture sector to achieve zero hunger.