Speaking to Global Patriot in an interview in Port Harcourt, the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Barrister Emma Okah, said the foremost priority of the proposed 2018 budget is to expand the economy of the state by attracting investments and creating jobs.
To this end, he said, there is a substantial increase in capital over recurrent expenditure, which is intended to direct substantial resources to the critical growth sectors of the Rivers state economy.
This, he said is in the ratio of 75 percent capital expenditure and 25 percent recurrent expenditure.
He stated that the proposed budget will help diversify the economy and ensure that Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) grows up to 60 percent in the next 3 years.
When this happens, the Commissioner noted, the state would be self reliant and its economy vibrant and self sustaining with less dependence on federal allocation.
Barr. Okah said with the massive projects to be executed in this year’s proposed budget, companies handling projects will be directed to engage youths thereby reducing unemployment.
Besides, according to the Commissioner, the proposed budget will ensure that credit facilities and incentives are given to individuals, small and medium scale enterprises to stimulate the economy.
Furthermore, he stated that the proposed budget has a provision to boost culture and tourism by exploiting tourists’ attraction sites spanning all the nooks and crannies of the state.
He also stated that the proposed budget will advance educational opportunities by improving the environment of schools, paying WAEC fees and underwriting the administration charges of NECO as well as supplying school equipment.
On tertiary education, he said the proposed budget will complete some buildings at the Rivers state University and also provide substantial funds for the running of the tertiary institution. Besides providing scholarships to critical areas of the state’s manpower needs.
Barr. Okah stated that the proposed budget will improve on health delivery in the state as all on-going projects in the health sector will be completed, adding that government intends to recruit and train more medical doctors and health care personnel as well as equipping the hospitals and health centres.
On security, the Commissioner said the proposed budget made provisions for the establishment of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Corps.
The Corps, he said when established, will collaborate with security agencies to combat cultism, other crimes and vices in the state.
The Commissioner appealed to every citizen of the state, irrespective of ethnic, religious and political differences to support the proposed budget to enable the present administration of Gov. Nyesom Wike, restore the pride of Rivers people.