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The Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon (Engr) Victor Ochei has described the People’s Democratic Party as the veritable vehicle through which Deltans will reap and savour the dividends of democracy.

He made this landmark statement at Utagba Uno in Ndokwa-West Local Government Area of Delta State, when Hon Azuka Azaka, member representing Ndokwa-West at the Delta State House of Assembly led over ten thousand erstwhile members of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) to the People’s Democratic Party.

In the legislator’s words, “the present Uduaghan administration which came into governance on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, has demonstrated unfathomable commitment to providing the dividends of democracy to the polity, by the faithful implementation of the three point agenda”.

Hon Ochei further posited that the wave of mass defection to the People’s Democratic Party in Delta State, is an attestation to the resourcefulness of the party in keeping faith with its promises of providing welfare to the masses, adding that the party will readily welcome more defections to the PDP, which is a confirmation of the party’s acceptability.

In his speech, Hon Azaka revealed that the decision to lead his acolytes to PDP stemmed from the benevolence of the party as evidenced by the numerous constituency projects within the locality even as an opposition member of the state Legislature.
Also speaking on the occasion, the Chairman of the party in Delta State, Chief (Barr.) Peter Nwaoboshi assured the new members of equity and fairness in the recognition of statuses, and absorption into the mainstream of the People’s Democratic Party, in line with the universal principles of collateral reward. 

According to him, “when military Generals go to the battlefield, they go with guns, but when politicians go to the poll, they go with human raw materials to provide the requisite leverage, and that from what I have seen today, Hon Azaka is a General in his field and the party needs this multitude of supporters to continually bring home the dividends of democracy to the people of Delta State”.

Budget Of Consolidation, Sustainable Economic Growth And Development

Address By His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, Con, Governor Of Delta State, To The Delta State House Of Assembly, At The Presentation Of The Year 2014 Budget Proposals, On Wednesday 18th December, 2013.

Honourable Members,

I thank this respected House for the opportunity to present the draft budget proposals of the Delta State Government for the 2014 fiscal year. Mr Speaker, distinguished Honourable Members, this budget contains clear proof of our sound financial management as well as evidence of our commitment to good governance for the benefit of Deltans of today, and in the years to come.

2.    Mr. Speaker, I want to use this opportunity to restate our very strong desire to finish strong. With 2014 being the last full year of this administration in office, Deltans are desirous that the promises and hopes we have raised should be kept. We are determined that it shall be so.

3.   Mr. Speaker, I believe we will finish strong because we have to a large extent restored public confidence in Government. We have created credible institutions of governance. We have enacted friendly and conducive environment for anyone to fulfill their God given potentials. This has given our people hope of bright and happy future.

4.   My duty and the duty of this Government is not to dash this hope. Our duty is to act competently and to ensure that public finances are managed in the best possible way. Our people expect at all times good judgment and discretion from the Government it elected. As you know Mr. Speaker, none of us can rest or sleep peacefully until economic uncertainty, unemployment and poverty are tackled.

5.   Mr. Speaker, the new vision today is “Delta beyond oil” and this is gradually sinking into the hearts and minds of all Nigerians. The song now is ‘Nigeria beyond Oil’. We should be proud that Delta State set the pace for this nation to look beyond oil. I am happy that this House, Mr. Speaker shares this thinking with me. The volatile nature of oil prices and the limited opportunities in over-depending on oil has, created new needs and added urgency to old ones. Generating jobs, building transparent and inclusive governance are needs that depending on oil alone cannot solve. This calls for diversification to meet our increasing needs as a people.

6.   Mr. Speaker,  before I go further to review our performances of the outgoing year and present the year 2014 budget proposals, permit me, to use this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to you for the harmony, which has continued to exist between the State Legislature and other arms of government. This stability has made it possible for us to deliver on the promises we made to our people.

7.   Mr. Speaker, let me quickly review the performance of the year 2013 budget before presenting the policies and programmes in the 2014 draft budget of Consolidation, Sustainable Economic Growth and Development, for the consideration of this honourable House.

COMPONENTS OF THE 2013 BUDGET

8.         In the 2013 fiscal year, a budget of N472.006bn (four hundred and seventy two billion, six million naira) was approved for the services of the State Government. The amount is made up of a recurrent expenditure budget of N156.403bn (one hundred and fifty six billion, four hundred and three million naira) and a capital budget of N315.602bn (three hundred and fifteen billion, six hundred and two million naira). The profile of the 2013 budget was as follows:

A)   REVENUE

 

Sources

Approved               2013 Budget

% Appropriation

  Internally Generated Revenue

61,440,624,172   

13.02

  Statutory Allocation Including Mineral Revenue Derivation

198,513,285,148

42.06

  Value Added Tax

11,441,860,370

2.42

  Other Capital Receipts

200,611,002,480

42.50

  Total

472,006,772,170

100

 

 (B)       EXPENDITURE

S/N

Details

Approved               2013 Budget

 %

Appropriation

i

 Recurrent Expenditure

156,403,782,607

                         33.14

ii

 Capital Expenditure

315,602,989,563

                         66.86

  Total

472,006,772,170

 100

 YEAR 2013 REVENUE BUDGET PERFORMANCE (JANUARY  TO SEPTEMBER)

9.  The State Government, during the nine months of January to September, 2013, recorded a total revenue performance of N205.303bn (Two hundred and five billion, three hundred and three million naira), representing an overall performance of 57.99% over expected proportionate receipts of N354.005bn.  Out of this amount, the sum of N154.227bn (one hundred and fifty four billion, two hundred and twenty seven million naira) was received as Statutory Allocation from the Federation Account. The amount represents 103.59% performance of the proportionate estimate of N148.884bn (one hundred and forty eight billion, eight hundred and eighty four million naira).  On the other hand, the sum of N7.314bn (seven billion, three hundred and fourteen million naira) was recorded as receipts from Value Added Tax (VAT) out of the proportionate projected receipts of N8.581bn (eight billion, five hundred and eighty one million naira) representing a budget performance of 63.93%.

10.  The sum of N38.761bn (thirty eight billion, seven hundred and sixty one million nairawas recorded as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) out of the projected revenue of N46.080bn (forty sixty billion, eighty million naira), representing a budget performance of 84.12%.  The sum of N5bn (five Billion) or 3.32% was received from other capital revenues against the proportionate budget of N150.458bn (One hundred and fifty billion, four hundred and fifty eight million) during the period under review. The breakdown of the revenue receipts from individual revenue sources is provided hereunder:

S/N

Sources

Approved               2013 Budget

Proportionate Budget Jan-Sept, 2013

Actual Revenue              Jan – Sept,  2013

%

Per

i

Internally Generated Revenue

61,440,624,172

46,080,468,129

38,761,636,031

84.12

ii

Statutory Allocation Including Mineral Rev. Derivation

198,513,285,148

148,884,963,861

154,227,372,109

103.59

iii

Value Added Tax

11,441,860,370

8,581,395,278

7,314,796,565

85.24

iv

Other Capital Receipts

200,611,002,480

150,458,251,860

5,000,000,000

3.32

 

Total

472,006,772,170

354,005,079,127

205,303,804,705

57.99

 

 11.       The above revenue receipts represent an aggregate increaseof 8.04% over N190.031bn (one hundred and ninety billion, thirty one million naira) recorded for the corresponding period of January to September, 2012.  Statutory Allocation has a significant increase of N16.334bn (sixteen billion, three hundred and thirty four million naira) or 11.85% over N137.892bn recorded for the same period in 2012. Contained in this amount is the SURE-P fund of N11.018bn (eleven billion, eighteen million naira) received for the period January to September, 2013. There was, also a noteworthy increase of 4.172% in the receipts from the internally generated revenue from which N38.761bn (thirty eight billionseven hundred and sixty one million naira), was received in 2013 as against N34.589bn (thirty four billion, five hundred and eighty nine million naira) received for the same period in 2012.  

YEAR 2013 EXPENDITURE BUDGET PERFORMAMNCE (JANUARY TO SEPTEMBER)

12.       As for expenditure, a total sum of N197.278bn (one hundred and ninety seven billion, two hundred and seventy eight million naira) was spent during the period January – September, 2013. Out of this amount, the sum of N118.881bn (one hundred and eighteen billion, eight hundred and eighty one million naira) was spent on recurrent items as against a proportionate approved budget of N117.302bn (one hundred and seventeen billion, three hundred and two million naira) representing a budget performance of 101.35%. The breakdown is summarized below:

 

Recurrent

Approved               2013 Budget

Proportionate Budget Jan-Sept, 2013

Actual Expenditure              Jan – Sept,  2013

% Per

i

Personnel Costs

57,663,459,537

43,247,594,652

48,746,186,544

112.71

ii

Overhead Costs

62,662,918,823

46,997,189,117

38,746,148,452

82.44

iii

Con. Rev. Charge

36,077,404,248

27,058,053,186

31,388,953,052

116.01

 

Total

156,403,782,607

117,302,836,955

118,881,288,048

101.35

 13.       The sum of N315.602bn (three hundred and fifteen billion, six hundred and two million naira) was budgeted for Capital Expenditure.  During the year, actual expenditure for the period, January-September, 2013 was N78.397bn (seventy eight billion, three hundred and ninety seven million naira) as against the proportionate budget figure of N236.702bn (two hundred and thirty six billion, seven hundred and two million naira), representing a budget performance of 33.12%. A breakdown of the Sectoral performance for the period is as follows:

 

Capital

Approved               2013 Budget

Proportionate Budget Jan-Sept, 2013

Actual Expenditure              Jan – Sept,  2013

% Per

i

Economic

108,278,120,832

81,208,590,624

22,379,930,951

27.56

ii

Social

62,449,628,468

46,837,221,351

9,727,101,718

20.77

iii

Environmental

62,713,764,931

47,035,323,698

13,484,866,433

28.67

iv

General Administration

44,161,475,332

33,121,106,499

15,200,325,542

45.89

v

DESOPADEC

37,000,000,000

27,750,000,000

17,605,067,178

63.44

vi

Contingency Fund

1,000,000,000

750,000,000

-

0.00

 

Total

315,602,989,563

236,702,242,173

78,397,291,821

33.12

14.       Above performance, however, is not a true reflection on our physical performance. Our performance appears to be poor when actual receipts and expenditure are placed side by side with the approved budget. This is because, we were over-ambitious in our revenue expectations.

YEAR 2014 BUDGET

15.       Mr. Speaker, Sir, distinguished Members, having given a brief review of the implementation of 2014 budget, it is now my pleasure to announce a budget proposal of N391.51bn (three hundred and ninety one billion, five hundred and ten million naira) for the services of Delta State in the 2014 fiscal year. It is a budget of Consolidation, Sustainable Economic Growth and Development. This amount comprises N159.78bn (one hundred and fifty nine billion, seven hundred and eighty million naira) or 40.8% for Recurrent Expenditure and N231.72bn (two hundred and thirty one billion, seven hundred and twenty million naira) or 59.1% for capital expenditures.

16.      The year 2014 budget proposal shows a decrease of N80.49bn (eighty billion, four hundred and ninety million naira) or 17.05% when compared to the year 2013 approved budget of N472.00bn (four hundred and seventy two billion naira).

17.       Mr. Speaker, Members of this Honourable House, the main focus of Year 2014 Budget is to sustain the drive towards Delta State beyond oil initiative. We have in this respect put together a budget and business plan in line with the objectives and priorities we set out in the three point agenda. Emphasis in 2014 shall be on the completion of ongoing key projects given the size of carryover projects. This is a result oriented strategy, wherein an allocation to budget heads are tied to performing projects and programmes that can sustain development.

SOURCES OF FUND

18.      The main sources of funds for the 2014 budget are:

 

Sources

Proposed Budget 2014

Percentage %

i

Internally Generated Revenue

62,493,600,528

15.96

ii

Statutory Allocation Including Mineral Revenue Derivation

229,315,948,494

58.57

iii

Value Added Tax

10,376,666,433

2.65

iv

Other Capital Receipts

89,327,153,850

22.82

  Total

391,513,369,304

100.00

 INTERNALLY GENERATED REVENUE  

19.      Mr. Speaker and honourable members, without the appropriate strategies, it will be unwise for us to make ambitious revenue projections. During 2014 fiscal year, our Revenue Services will increase its focus on untapped revenue potentials. We shall review the provisions of the Delta State Internal Revenue Consolidation Bill 2009, which may not have envisaged current realities. New revenue sources are being identified and their rates need to be properly captured in the revenue law. We have taken a deep look on how best to ensure that all revenues due to the State are collected in order to boost the revenue base of Government. We also are putting in place measures to minimize leakages in the system. The Board of Internal Revenue will continue to enjoy support of Government it requires to strengthen its tax administration machinery. I charge all Deltans, corporate bodies and other residents in the State to dutifully meet this civic obligation without coercion.

20.       In view of our renewed commitments and strategies towards improving internally generated revenue, we are expecting the sum of N62.49bn (sixty two billion, four hundred ninety million naira) from Internally Generated Revenue in 2014 or 15.96% as against the sum of N61.44bn (sixty one billion, four hundred forty million naira) under the 2013 budget. The IGR estimates for 2014 is marginally higher than the 2013 approved estimates by N1.0bn (one billion naira) or 1.71%.

STATUTORY ALLOCATION

21.       The sum of N229.31bn (two hundred and twenty nine billion, three hundred and ten million naira) representing 58.57% of projected total revenue is expected from Statutory Allocation from the Federation Account in the 2014 fiscal year.  This amount is more than the N198.513bn budgeted this year by N30.80bn or 15.52%. This increase is attributed to our revenue performance at the end of third quarter of 2013 and higher expectations from oil revenues next year.

OTHER CAPITAL RECEIPTS/MISCELLANEOUS

22.       In this budget proposal, Capital Receipts have been scaled down from N200.61bn in 2013 to N89.32bn in 2014 by N111.28bn or 55.47%.  This is primarily because we want to infuse greater fiscal discipline into the system.  With the measures we have in place, we hope to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) which will also in turn increase our revenue base.

RECURRENT EXPENDITURES

23.      The total recurrent expenditure estimates for 2014 is N159.78bn (one hundred and fifty nine billion, seven hundred and eighty million naira) made up of personnel costs of N64.16bn (sixty four billion, one hundred and sixty million naira) or 40.16% and overhead costs of N57.29bn (fifty-seven billion, two hundred and ninety million naira) or 35.86%. The Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges has a proposed sum of N38.33bn (thirty eight billion, three hundred and thirty million naira) or 23.99%. On the whole, the recurrent proposal for 2014 is higher by N3.38bn or 2.16% when compared with the sum of N156.40bn approved for 2013.The recurrent expenditure estimates is summarized hereunder:

 

Items

Proposed Budget 2014

Percentage %

i

Personnel  Costs

64,163,825,162

40.16

ii

Overhead   Costs

57,291,892,650

35.86

iii

Consolidated        Revenue Fund Charges

38,331,553,261

23.99

 

Total

159,787,271,073

100.00

CAPITAL EXPENDITURE ESTIMATES

24.      The proposed capital expenditure estimates for 2014 is N231.72bn (two hundred and thirty one billion, seven hundred and twenty million). The proposal is N83.87bn (eighty three billion, eight hundred and seventy million) or 26.58% lower than the 2013 capital budget of N315.60bn (three hundred and fifteen billion, six hundred million). The sectoral breakdown of the capital expenditure estimates is as stated hereunder:

 

Sector

Proposed Budget 2014

Percentage %

i

Economic

79,434,244,353

34.28

ii

Social

45,640,593,570

19.70

iii

Environmental

37,927,511,681

16.37

iv

General Administration

30,723,748,627

13.26

v

Delta State Oil Producing Areas Dev. Commission

37,000,000,000

15.97

vi

Contingency

1,000,000,000

0.43

  Total      231,726,098,232

100.00

25.       At this juncture Mr. Speaker Sir, and Honourable Members, let me now highlight some salient areas of the capital proposals while the details of the budget would be given by the Honourable Commissioner for Economic Planning at a later date.

ECONOMIC SECTOR

26.       We shall continue to focus on agriculture as a strategy towards sustaining our drive on a Delta beyond oil.  We are encouraging our youths to embrace farming activities from which unemployment, hunger and malnutrition will be reduced. We are implementing a well articulated agricultural and poverty alleviation programmes for Delta State in collaboration with the private sector. The sums of N1bn and N600m are proposed for the Procurement of Modern Tractor Equipments for farmers and Agricultural Youth Development Programme respectively in the 2014 fiscal year.

27.       As we diversify our economy it becomes imperative that we encourage our people to embrace  entrepreneurship skills through the Micro Credit and SME Schemes. Delta State has been adjudged the best in this initiative and now a model to other States. I am happy to state that the scheme is making an enormous impact in the society. Many of our products have gone global and we are pleased with this. It is our aim to support as many Micro and small business enterprises that can prove their mettle in the local and international markets. These schemes, Mr. Speaker, as at date has empowered a total of 10,429 cluster groups of entrepreneurs made up of 111,312 persons.  Of this number, 67,861 are females, while 43,451 are males empowered in various small businesses.The sum of N800m (eight hundred million naira) is allocated to the Micro Credit Scheme in the 2014 budget proposal.

28.       In keeping with the administration’s set objectives of realizing its 3-point agenda that targets the socio-economic and industrial transformation of the State, emphasis on the Energy sector is crucial to ensure adequate power supply distribution infrastructure in both urban towns and rural communities across the State. I want to also add that Government has re-positioned the state to key into the emerging electricity market of the post-PHCN era. From the investments we have made we are confident that Deltans will soon enjoy efficient service delivery in electricity supply. So far we have invested heavily in the acquisition of power supply infrastructure throughout the state. The sum of N6bn (six billion naira) has been allocated to boost electricity supply throughout the State in 2014.

29.       We have concluded arrangement for the establishment of  some industries to promote Medium and Small Scale Enterprises in the State. They are part of the economic blue print of this administration to tackle growing unemployment, encourage industrial activities, and reduce rural – urban drift. The industries which include fish feed mills and cassava processing plants are located across the three senatorial districts of the State and will be managed in partnership with the private investors to make them viable and ensure efficient management.

30        One of the instruments we use to facilitate relationships between relevant government agencies and investors is the One Stop Shop. This is borne out of the desire of Government to make information available to investors and business organizations in such a manner that they can access such information from one source.

31.       We will not relent in our efforts at developing infrastructures with huge economic impact. Mr. Speaker, a Delta state that will prosper beyond oil is one with some critical infrastructures, which is why we undertook the construction of Asaba International Airport, the ongoing upgrading of Osubi Airport to international standards, special economic zones and industrial clusters, (Ogidigben Free Trade Zone, Warri Industrial Business Park, and the Delta Leisure and Destination Park). In this regard, the sums of N4.5bn, N4.5bn, N1bn, N3bn, and N2bn are provided respectively to complete and sustain them in 2014.Also, the massive Delta City Mall currently undergoing construction at Effurun which will host the international shopping facility ‘Shoprite’ amongst other businesses would start operation before the end of 2014. It will improve the economic activities of the State. It will provide job opportunities and business opportunities to, not only Deltans but non-Deltans as well. Hopefully, the construction of the City Mall at Asaba will commence soon.

32.       Government will continue to work assiduously towards having good roads across the state. Good road network makes the movement of goods and services easier and safer. However in constructing roads we take two factors into account: the social and economic benefits in line with our commitment towards Delta Beyond Oil. Construction work in on-going road projects in the state has resumed after the rainy season and we expect a lot of them will be completed in the course of the dry season. We hope that these roads with walkways and drainage will ensure pedestrians safety and boost economic activities. I want to warn that walkways are not extension of shops to display wares, all those doing this are advised in their own interest to desist. In the 2014 fiscal year, Mr. Speaker, the sum of N3bn (three billion naira) has been set aside for the Ugbenu–Koko road, N10bn (ten billion naira)  for the Ughelli-Asaba Dual carriageway,  N5bn (five billion naira) for the Effurun-Osubi-Eku Road, N15bn (fifteen billion naira) for the TransWarri-Ode-Itsekiri Roads and bridge and N1.8bn (one billion eight hundred million naira) for Dualisation of old Lagos/Agbor Axial Road, Agbor among other critical road projects.

33.       Mr Speaker, over the years through our modern, comfortable, safe and cheap means of transportation, we have reduced loss of lives on our roads. In view of this, Government purchased and distributed 2,550 tricycles, 705 Toyota Hiace Buses, 50 Marcopolo Buses, 30 Innoson High Capacity Buses, 10 Tata Buses, to major cities and towns in the State. We also provided 130 Passenger Boats and the completed 30 Jetties to facilitate water transportation. In 2014, our target is to complete the Asaba and Warri Mega Bus Terminals, the Warri Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project along Warri-Sapele Road. The setting up of the Delta State Traffic Management Authority (DESTMA) will play a critical role in our traffic and road management. We are determined to create a safe and conducive environment for more private sector participation in transport infrastructure in the State. We must take every necessary lawful step to bring sanity on our roads.  A total sum of N560m (five hundred and sixty million naira) has been provided for the sustenance of our mass transportation in 2014.

 

SOCIAL SECTOR

Education

35.       It is our determination to fully implement the compulsory and free basic education policy of this administration. It is also our desire to continue with the facelift of our public primary and secondary schools. In this regard, we are determined to complete the ongoing upgrading/expansion of three secondary schools to technical colleges in the State. Through direct interventions, Government shall continue to provide the necessary support for the programmes aimed at accelerating the development and rehabilitation of infrastructures required for the effective and efficient administration of our tertiary institutions. The priority given to Education in the State need not be overstressed. Particular attention will be paid to the quality of students who pass out from our post primary institutions as this will ultimately determine the calibre of students who matriculate and graduate from our higher institutions. Adequate steps, therefore, are being taken towards attaining an acceptable standard of education in the State.

36.       The policy of giving scholarships to deserving and brightest students is still ongoing and this is yielding tremendous results in encouraging our students to be competitive and relevant in global economy. We intend to prepare our children to compete at the highest level of any profession. In the last four years we have provided scholarship to 1,760 students in following categories, 247 for First Class, Aviation and Overseas Postgraduate, and 1,513 for students at the local level. We have also approved scholarship for 792 students in all the categories awaiting screening and selection of beneficiaries.

37.       Mr. Speaker, it is in the eyes of this administration unacceptable that our school age children are sometimes found on the street, hawking or playing truancy instead of being in the classrooms learning. To eliminate this unpleasant situation, we initiated the Delta Education Marshall (EduMarshall). The EduMarshall is expected to eradicate ‘Street Culture’ which is to give way to the ‘Learning Culture’. EduMarshall’s main objective is to reduce the presence of our children in the streets and to take them back to class rooms. By fulfilling this we are keeping faith with the implementation of the Child Rights Act, 2010, which this administration is passionate about.

38.       The sum of N12bn (twelve billion naira) is budgeted for primary and secondary schools infrastructure projectand N3bn (three billion naira) for the ongoing Four (4) New Polytechnics in the State. We shall also complete all on-going projects in our university campuses.

 

Health

39.       Our vision in healthcare delivery, Mr. Speaker is to reduce morbidity and mortality rates due to communicable diseases to the barest minimum; reverse the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases; meet global targets on the elimination and eradication of diseases and significantly increase the life expectancy and quality of life of our people. To achieve this, we have developed and are implementing appropriate policies and programmes as well as undertaking other necessary actions that will strengthen the State’s health system to deliver effective, quality and affordable health care services. We have received commendations at different fora for the successes recorded so far in our Free Maternal Health Care, Under-5 Health Care and Rural Health Scheme. We shall not relent in our efforts at improving our healthcare delivery. We are working tirelessly to ensure that our healthcare facilities are up to standard and can deliver the required healthcare services.

40.       We have made remarkable progress in the provision of health care facilities in the State. Apart from the Oghara Teaching Hospital, a reference point in medical tourism, we are also upgrading other healthcare facilities in the state. Mr. Speaker, noteworthy to mention is the remodeling of the Asaba Central Hospital, which will be completed in 2014. On completion, it will meet the demand of the ever growing population of Asaba Capital Territory.To this end, the sums of N4bn, N2bn and N5bn have been earmarked for the completion of the Teaching Hospital, Oghara; the Central Hospital, Asaba; and Cardio-Renal Centre, Warri respectively amongst others.

Social Development and Sports

41.       Delta State still remains the front runner in sports in the country and this laudable achievement is coming on the backdrop of sports development being undertaken by this administration. Government will continue to support sports men and women, both nationally and internationally. Our achievement in sports by our children as evident at the last Channels Schools Kids Sports, is a fallout of our commitment towards catching them young. You will recall that Delta State hosted the first national Sports Summit in Asaba – a gathering of the best brains in sport in Nigeria. We are systematically and strategically implementing the recommendations of the summit.

42.       Youth development is also one area Government has committed huge resources, because it is a tool for promoting and sustaining peace and security in the State. We have programmes that are designed to make them self reliant and to be able to train other unemployed youths thereby taking them off the streets. A total sum ofN2.5bn (two billion, five hundred million naira) has been allocated to this sub-sector.

ENVIRONMENTAL SECTOR

43.       In meeting with the Delta beyond oil vision of this Administration, the State Government is keen on its responsibilities of ensuring a clean, hygienic and healthy environment with the ultimate objective of avoiding the incidences of epidemics and environmental related diseases in the State. Efforts to avoid the incidence of flooding that ravaged some parts of the State last year are still on-going. We are working hard to have an environmentally friendly and habitable society. Our approach towards climate change is Territorial, and it focuses on adaptation and mitigation measures. Mr. Speaker, you would have observed that the continuous clearance of drains and canals throughout the state has drastically reduced the incidence of flooding as was recorded in the past. We shall not give up in our efforts at educating our people more on the issue of environment and climate change.

44.       Thus, a total of N1bn one billion naira) is set aside for Flood Intervention Measures across the State. This is outside other provisions such as N1.1bn and N1.5bn for Warri and Asaba drainage projects respectively.

45.       A healthy environment is a wealthy one, that’s why the ‘keep delta state clean and beautiful’ drive by this administration will be sustained in the coming year.  Our cities and towns are gradually wearing new looks. We have taken a carefully thought-out action to improve the safety, health and beautification of major towns and cities. What we see at Enerhen junction, Effurun will be replicated across the State through our junction improvement and beautification initiatives. Apart from the aesthetic value derivable from these stream of beautification activities, the exercise is associated with some other socio-economic and cultural benefits such as; Cushioning the effect of Global warming, Guide against environmental degradation, Improved public health through cleanliness & disease control, Economic viability through provision of jobs & wealth creation. Some of the activities include; Erection of relevant monuments, Placement of Signage, Landscaping, Construction of Gardens & Recreation parks, Tree planting, Fruit stands etc.  To sustain our efforts, the sums of N1bn and N2bn are set aside the beautification and junction improvement projects.

 

46.       Housing has been a challenge to us since the creation of Delta State in 1991. We have remained committed to the provision of adequate housing for our people. Significant successes, however, have so far been recorded in the construction of low and medium income houses throughout the state under the various housing programmes.

47.  Asaba is being adjudged as the fastest growing new city in Nigeria today. This is because it is safe, friendly and conducive for business to flourish. This has put huge burden on government to provide needed infrastructure. It has become imperative therefore, for government to improve the housing situation in Asaba due to high demand and cost in acquiring accommodation for residents. Currently, 150 units of low and medium housing of 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom of 50 units each is undergoing construction in Asaba, which we expect to deliver in 2014. It is our view that this will reduce the pressure on public officers when they are allocated these houses on completion.The sum of N3.5bn (three billion, five hundred million naira) is set aside for the development of Housing Estates in the State.

 

DELTA STATE OIL PRODUCING AREAS DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION DESOPADEC

48.       In accordance with the law setting up the Commission, the sum of N37bn (thirty seven billion naira) has been set aside, representing 50% of projected derivation revenue receipts from oil accruable to Delta State for the development of oil producing communities. Government will continue to keep an eye on the activities of the Commission to ensure that the funds disbursed to it are appropriately utilized and accounted for. It is heartwarming to note that the Commission has been positioned to deliver on its mandate.

 

MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS

49.       We have made significant progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals. The adoption of Safety Net under the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme for the reduction of extreme poverty and hunger among our people has recorded huge success.  In the last six years, the State Government has been working in collaboration with the Federal Government to advance the attainment of the goals. We have consistently set aside funds as counterpart contribution to the partnership. The sum of N1.5bn (one billion, five hundred million naira) is set aside as the state’s counterpart fund for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals for the 2014 fiscal.  This aside, Government will continue to partner with International Development Agencies on programmes that will strengthen existing Public Service Institutions for their traditional roles in Government. Along this line, the State will be working with UNDP and the World Bank to improve the budgeting process by linking it with the MDGs in specific and measurable ways.

 

General Administration

50.       We have made considerable efforts at improving our office infrastructure fit for working comforts. With the completion of the new State Secretariat annex and other public buildings, Government has substantially reduced its presence in rented private owned buildings.

51.       The state biometric system of capturing staff data has been upgraded and the issue of ghost workers is seriously tackled. This has saved Government a lot of money which is deployed for developmental purposes. We have also keyed into the SEEFOR State Integrated Financial Information Management System (SIFMIS) project which will improve transparency and accountability in managing our resources. This is a tool for the public financial management reforms driven by the World Bank. I should like to add that reforms by their nature are sometimes difficult because it confronts existing anomalies which seek ways to resist, I therefore urge everyone, in particular, this honourable House to support our efforts in the interest of the state.

52.       For effective administration of justice in the state, we embarked on massive construction, rehabilitation, furnishing and equipping of High Courts, Magistrate Courts and Judges’ Quarters’ throughout the state. The state’s Justice System has grown positively particularly in the areas of advocacy, promotion of criminal justice and conflict resolution through mediation to ensure that the agenda of Government is achieved.

53.       The State currently is peaceful and safe. This is as a result of the commitment by this administration to all Deltans in provision of security vehicles, gadgets and other logistics all security agencies in the State.

Conclusion

54.       Mr. Speaker and members of this Honourable House, what I have read is a well thought out budget, and I commend this budget to the chamber. As we move towards the end of this administration, we want to consolidate the foundation we are laying for the sustained growth and development of the state. I call on Deltans to be patient with Government; sometimes we have to go through difficult times for things to get better. It cannot be rosy all the time.

55.       The past few years have been demanding. We thank God Almighty for giving us the motivation and understanding to sail through the murky waters of our political and economic landscape. The cooperation and support of this distinguished House has made it possible for us to provide good governance for our people.

56.  Mr. Speaker, with a deep sense of humility, our administration in the last one year has shown outstanding determination to match its words with actions and with the active support and assistance of this honourable House and the good people of our beloved State; our achievements are now visible. I thank you all.

57.    I cannot end this address without expressing my deep appreciation to all Deltans for the huge support extended to me and our great party – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the years.  I assure you all that the confidence reposed in us will not be misplaced. We are determined to provide quality leadership and improved services.

58.  Mr. Speaker, distinguished members of this honourable House, I thank you for your kind attention. I wish you God’s profound peace, abiding presence, and guidance in all your endeavours. Compliments of the season!

Thank you.

The Delta State House of Assembly on Tuesday recalled its suspended lawmaker, Mr Edoja Akpodiete, representing Ughelli North I State Constituency.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Akpodiete was suspended on Sept. 26 over alleged gross misconduct, for a period of six months.

The recall of the lawmaker followed a motion moved by the Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Mr Johnson Erijo.

Erijo said that the lawmaker had shown some signs of remorse, adding that “he has also demonstrated that he is thoroughly remorseful for his actions, having realised his mistakes and also in the spirit of the yuletide season.’’

The motion, which was unanimously supported, was seconded by Mr. Efe Ofobruku, representing Uvwie constituency in the House.

The Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon (Engr) Victor Ochei has urged Deltans to celebrate the yuletide by reflecting on its very essence, which symbolically heralds the birth of our Lord Jesus to reconcile mankind to our creator.

The call was made in his seasonal goodwill message to Deltans.

According to him, “as we celebrate as Deltans I want us to reflect on the very essence of this season, and adequately appraise the relationship between Deltans, mankind and our creator”.

He also observed that as praying and prayerful state with sobriquet “The Finger of God”, there is compelling need to uphold the values and virtues that make us see one another as one indivisible people.

While wishing Deltans a merry Christmas and a fruitful new year, the legislator opined that observing the core essence of the season will make Delta come out as a better state.

 

 

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