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Dr. Alex Otti, Abia State Governor

Otti presents 2024 Appropriation Bill of N567.2bn to Abia Assembly

Gov. Alex Otti of Abia (c) presenting the 2024 Appropriation Bill of N567.2 bn to the State House of Assembly in Umuahia on Tuesday (NAN Photo) 

By Ihechinyere Chigemeri-Uwom

Umuahia, Dec. 12 , 2023

Gov. Alex Otti of Abia on Tuesday presented N567.2 billion Appropriation Bill for the 2024 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly.

In a speech, Otti said that the bill, christened “Budget of New Beginning”, was over N400 billion higher than 2023 budget estimate of N160.5 billion,

He said that 84 per cent of the budget is for capital expenditure, while 16 per cent is for recurrent expenditure.

“This is against the 53 per cent alloted for capital expenditure and 47 per cent for recurrent expenditure in the 2023 fiscal year,” he said.

He put government’s estimated total revenue at over N166 billion.

He said that the revenue would come through earnings from the internally generated revenue channels, Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, grants from multilateral organisations and incomes from other revenue sources.

“We plan to finance the deficit of over N401 billion partly by new borrowings, estimated at N385.3 billion.

He said that about 50 per cent of the borrowing would be sourced externally, while the balance would be procured domestically.

“It must at this point be stated that all borrowings would be committed strictly to capital projects with direct impact on the economy of the state, especially roads, schools and medical facilities,” Otti said.

He said that such measure would enable the state to meet its obligation to its creditors, by smoothly and ultimately paying off the loans in due course.

“We shall be committing major resources to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of some of the most important roads along the major economic corridors of the state,” he said.

Otti also said that the government was focused on committing more than 20 per cent and 15 per cent of the aggregate budget spending to education and health, respectively.

He also said that the state proposes to commit 44.76 per cent of the budget to the economic sector, with 16.97 per cent going to works, 9.9 per cent to land and housing, 5.12 per cent to agriculture and 5.23 per cent to finance.

“In the same vein, 40.07 per cent  of the total budget is proposed to be committed to the social sector with the bulk of the resources going into education (20 per cent), healthcare (15.04 per cent), youth and sport development (3.17 per cent),” he said.

He said that rebuilding the public infrastructure required financing that would greatly stimulate the state’s economy and make it competitive on a global scale.

“The 2024 budget targets the expansion of public infrastructure, in line with the government’s new development agenda, scaling up access and quality service delivery in the social sector,” he further said.

He said that the government had created a system that would enable the citizens and other stakeholders to monitor the expenditure of funds and the impact of the capital projects on their communities, from inception to completion.

Otti said that the monitoring system would  guarantee transparency and prudence.

He also opined that the feedback got from the citizens would play a vital role in government’s decision making process.

The governor said that the government had resolved to effect a pay rise for civil servants “to reflect the present economic realities in the country”.

He said that provision for pay rise was made in the 2024 budget and that the government would  continue to prioritise the welfare of workers.

He, therefore, urged the workers to show greater commitment to duty and realisation of government’s agenda.

Otti said that the budget was focused on exceeding the 60 per cent budget implementation mark achieved in 2023.

He said that “facts and figures show that the government has done quite well in the implementation of the 2023 budget of N160.5 billion”.

“A new beginning awaits the people of Abia,” he said and urged the citizenry to align with the government’s rebuilding agenda to restore the glory of the state.

“I invite us all to look to the future with great optimism.

“We are coming from a very difficult place but none of the difficulties of the past can diminish the potentials of this great land,” Otti said.

He assured the house of necessary cooperation from the executive for the speedy and diligent consideration of the 2024 budget proposal.

Responding, the Speaker, Mr Emmanuel Emeruwa, thanked the governor for presenting a robust budget and expressed the hope that it would enhance the state’s economy.

He assured him that the house would favourably consider the bill and give it an accelerated passage.

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