2020 Budget

2020 Appropriation Bill

A Law to make provision for
services of Rivers State for the year ending on the 31st day of December, (2020) Two
Thousand and Twenty.

1.    Four and half years ago, we
initiated the NEW RIVERS VISION development blueprint to transform our State
and create a cohesive, united, peaceful, resilient, secure and prosperous
society.

2.    After four years of stewardship and on the
basis of our performance, the good people of Rivers State renewed our mandate
for another four years. And so today, I have the honor to stand before this
August Assembly to present the budget estimates for the fiscal year 2020, being
the first budget in the second and final term of our Administration.

3.     Mr. Speaker, before I proceed with my
presentation, let me appreciate this Honorable House of Assembly, once again,
for your support to the policies and programmes of our administration and thank
you for your commitment to the progress of our State. We have worked together
as a team with a shared vision and we all must also share in glory of our
achievements.

4.     Permit me to also thank our people, the
good people of Rivers State, for their unceasing prayers and support, which
kept us strong like a metal forged in fire, focused and confident of our
capacity to deliver.

5.     Four and half years ago, we were
confronted with seemingly insurmountable challenges of development, including a
national economy in recession and a State in helpless circumstances.

6.     But we were not deterred. Our resolve and
our spirit were unbreakable, and like a mettle produced through struggles,
nothing could daunt or constrain us. It happened that our Government was
unconquerable and our match to progress was equally unstoppable. Rather, we
were inspired by the challenges that we inherited.

7.     Today, in the first year of our second and
final four-year term, our Government remains strong. Our economy has recovered
and continues to grow. And our development policies, programmes and projects
continue to impact positively on the State and our people.

8.     For infrastructure, particularly roads, it
has been some kind of a revolution. With deliberate focus and dedicated
funding, we have delivered the biggest ever construction and upgrade of quality
road infrastructure for our State. All eyes can see the reconstructed, new and
improved roads and bridges interconnecting our State and our people into our
communities, farmlands, markets and goods and services.

9.     Local Government Areas such as Etche,
Omuma, and Oyigbo, hitherto cut-off have been reconnected to the State while we
have also ended the travel nightmare for our people in Opobo/Nkoro who are now
accessing the rest of the State by road. These are memorable achievements that
will accelerate developments in these Local Government Areas.

10.    We have invested considerable funds in both
hard and soft infrastructure of education, healthcare, security, sports
development, economic growth and poverty reduction resulting in much improved
access to quality education and healthcare delivery, security of lives and
property, and positive economic growth.

11.    By and large, the development effort of our
government across all indices of our NEW VISION blueprint is clearly evident
everywhere you go even as we admit that there is still much more to do to
realize our collective aspirations and fulfil our destiny as a united, peaceful
and thriving society.

12.    It is on this optimistic premise that we
have come to present the Rivers State Budgetary Estimates for fiscal year 2020
before the State House of Assembly for the consideration and passing into law.

13.    Mr. Speaker, the 2020 budget is about
effective resource mobilization, responsible management of available finances,
living within our means and delivering efficient public services to our people.
The budget has been prepared within the Revised Medium-Term Expenditure
Framework (MTEF) 2020 – 2022 and our Fiscal Strategy Paper.

14.    Going through the MTEF, you will notice a
strong re-commitment to fiscal discipline and responsible resource management.
We kept our revenue and growth assumptions within feasible limits based on
reasonable assessment of the prevailing state of the domestic and national
economies and opportunities for growth.

15.    Above all, the budget underlines where we
are and the strides, we intend to deliver to strengthen the foundations of
economic growth, resolve the critical challenges of state-building and usher in
a new era of infrastructural and socioeconomic transformation with measurable
results for our State and a better future for our people.

2.    Overview of budget performance for 2019

16.    In 2019, we had a total revenue estimates
of N480,411,324,684.00with the following funding plan:

(i)      Opening balance                        =        4,662,073,844.92 billion;

(ii)     Statutory Allocation (FAAC)     =
73,169,813,022.00 billion;

(iii)    13% Mineral Fund                      =        145,070,991,780.00 billion;

(iv)     Taxes (IGR)                              =        120,492,891,302.00 billion;

(v)      VAT
=        26,377,628,543.00
billion;

(vi)     Budget Support/Paris Club        =
27, 337,926,155.08 billion

(vii)    Exchange gain/Forex Equalization =           8,000,000,000.00 billion;

(viii)   Local and international credits   =
75,000,000,000.00 billion.

17.    At as end of October 2019, total net
revenue collected between January and October was N261,074,352,792.23
representing about 64.4% of total revenue estimates.

18.    Further breakdown shows that only
N37,102,734,345.42 was collected as FAAC receipts; N79,794,256,970.19 as 13%
Oil Mineral Fund, N90,923,318,238.78 as taxes, and 14,666,472,353.79 as Value
Added Tax. Also, N600,000,000.00 was received as Paris Club Refund,
N25,000,000,000.00 as local credits, while others, including exchange gain,
forex equalization and excess bank charges amounted to N7,496,428,837.31

19.    It is obvious from these figures that the
2019 budget under performed by about 36% on the revenue side.  However, contributions from internally
generated revenue is expected to peak at a much higher rate than what was
projected for the year.

20.   This was the direct result of improvements
in revenue collection arising from the automation of the tax collection system,
blockage of revenue leakages, intensive taxpayer education, as well as
improvements in tax audits and enforcement.

21.    Also, we embraced responsible fiscal
spending, reduced corruption in the contract processes, ensured appropriate
pricing of projects, goods and services and prioritized public spending mostly
to the economic and social sectors to stimulate economic growth.

22.   This approach sanitized public finances, enhanced
accountability, restored fiscal stability to our economy and enabled revenue
surpluses on our current account for the most part of 2019.

23.   The performance with respect to expenditures
was not that bad either. Actual recurrent expenditure on wages and salaries as
at October 2019 stood at N52,973,815,645.07 as against N79,120,041,995.00
projected. Similarly, actual recurrent expenditure on overheads was
10,807,214,040.00 as against N17,749,674,245.00, while recurrent expenditure on
pensions/gratuities within the same period was N11,363,996,328.82 as against
the N32,490,396,813.00 projected for 2019.

24.   Generally, we spent quite below the
projected recurrent expenditure because of the savings made in several areas,
including elimination of ghost workers from the payroll and cutting down on
wasteful expenses, travels and ceremonies.

25.   We also kept capital expenditure within the
framework of available revenue and borrowed far less than 35% of what was
projected to support project execution.
Indeed, through ring-fencing and systematic application of resources, we
completed a record number of key projects, carried several others to advanced
execution stages, and kick-started new ones, including the simultaneous
construction of three flyovers at Rebisi, Rumuokoro and Rumuogba. Some of the
key projects we delivered in 2019 include:

·        Hon. Justice Ndu (Elelenwo – Akpojo)
dual carriage way and street lights;

·        Rivers State University Teaching
Hospital;

·        Senior Civil Servants Quarters;

·        Ogbum-Nu-Abali Fruit Garden Market in
D/Line;

·        Rumuwoji Market in Mile 1 Diobu;

·        Government Craft Centre, Port Harcourt;

·        the reconstructed Government Secondary
School, Ubima;

·        Nigeria Labour Congress Secretariat
building;

·        Rivers State University Students Union
building;

·        the Real Madrid Football Academy;

26.   We also initiated and equipped the special
security outfit, christened: “Operation Sting” with 76 patrol/operational
vehicles fitted with communication gadgets; 4 armoured fitted gunboats, 2
Armoured Personnel Carriers and 450 hand-held mobile radios to fight banditry,
armed robbery and kidnapping and ensure security of lives, businesses and
property.

27.   Mr. Speaker and Honorable members, it is
noteworthy that although total revenue receipts were way below what was
projected, we made tremendous positive impact with the implementation of the
2019 budget through careful and focused planning, prudent management and
efficient deployment of available resources.

28.   However, our performance could have been
better but for the difficult national economic environment, including the
escalated costs of things, high inflation, and drastic shortfalls in national
revenue. These and other negative economic factors exerted serious pressures
that constrained the productive capacity of our economy to generate adequate
development revenues for the State.

29.   We wish to reassure all that we will
continue to drive our State on this progressive economic trajectory and deliver
more development projects to our people in 2020 and the remaining years ahead
for this Government. The peace, security and well being of our people are the
reason we are in government, and we will not fail to deliver on these and other
aspirations as we progress with the execution of the budget for 2020.

3.    The State’s economic outlook for 2020

30.   Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, it is
pertinent to bear in mind the state of the national economy when making projections
about our own economy. Various forecasters, including the World Bank, have
lowered the growth expectations of the national economy for 2020 to around 2.2%
due largely to the volatility of the international oil price and the inability
of the Federal Government to harvest sufficient revenues to fund the national
budget.

31.    However, while we have limited capacity to
influence the direction of the national economy, we have not relented in our
responsibility to protect the State’s economy from external shocks by creating
conditions for building a robust self-sustaining and inclusive economy.

32.   We started taking steps since 2018 to build
and strengthen the sources of economic growth to enable us overcome the
uncertainties of the national economy, including the over-dependence on federal
allocations to fund our development. And these efforts have started yielding
tangible results.

33.   With catalytic public investments, we turned
the construction industry into one of most important pillars of economic growth
in 2019, and which is expected to maintain its dynamism and impact as the
fastest growing sector of our economy for 2020, besides public and private
sector investments in oil and gas.

34.   Furthermore, with an expanding tax base and
conducive business environment, the State Government is getting more tax
revenues without overtaxing the economy and businesses. And so, with fiscal
discipline, accountability, efficiency and delivering value through responsible
spending, we now progressing within our means and driving our economy towards
achieving our long-term vision of having a self-reliantand sustainable Rivers
State.

35.   Yesterday, we won back the Sokufield, which
was illegally ceded to Bayelsa State by the Federal Government and the proceeds
from this field, including the accrued refunds over the years will additional
bolster our revenue projections for 2020.

36.   We expect the onward economic growth to
continue in 2020 peaking around 3.5% to 3.7% with significant improvements in
foreign and domestic investment inflows to the different sectors of our
economy, with the associated effects on job creation and other economic
opportunities for our people.

37.   Given therefore the fundamentals of our
economy, which has remained sustainable with a steady growth rate since 2017,
it is relatively safe to conclude that the economic outlook of our State for
2020 remains positive.

4.    2020 BUDGET ESTIMATES

38.   Mr. Speaker, the total budget for Rivers
State for the 2020 fiscal year is N530,813,357,619.00, which is constituted as
follows:

·        Total Recurrent expenditure. =    N156,659,436569.00

·        Total Capital expenditure   =
N374,153,920,743.00

5.    The 2020 Budget objectives and thrust

39.   The 2020 budget is intended to achieve the
following development objectives:

·         Strengthening the sources of economic
growth;

·         Building the infrastructure that
matches our development vision;

·         Enhancing food security, job creation
and poverty reduction;

·         Promoting sustainable, equitable and
inclusive development;

·         Advancing human capital development;
and

·         Ensuring sustainable security and
social cohesion;

6.    Financing the 2020 Budget

40.   The budget will be funded from the regular
revenue sources, including Statutory Allocation, 13% Oil Mineral Fund, Taxes
and non-tax revenues such as feeds, fines, permits, rents, interests,
dividends, licenses and domestic credit.

7.    The 2020 Recurrent Expenditure

41.    The total projected Recurrent expenditure
of N156,659,436569.00 for 2020 is proposed to be spent to meet government’s
financial obligations on salaries, wages and the day-to-day running of
Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

42.   The sum of N70,227,748,472.32 is earmarked
for salaries and wages; N8,000,000,000.00 for the new minimum wage, while
N18,429,375,634.45 is for overheads.

43.   Also, N5,000,000,000.00 is set aside for new
recruitments, N3,000,000,000.00 as counterpart fund for pensions,
N900,000,000.00 for death benefits and N33,176,728,931.33 as monthly pensions
and gratuities. Government has also provided over N400,000,000.00 as
counterpart contributions for donor programmes.

44.   Furthermore, N15,000,000,000.00 has been set
aside for servicing of domestic credits, while only N25,000,000,000.00 has been
earmarked for international credits.

45.   By and large, we are satisfied that the
assumptions of the recurrent expenditure for 2020 reflects the twin objectives
of stimulating economic growth as well as keeping the State along the path of
fiscal discipline by reducing deficit financing.

8.    The 2020 Capital Expenditure

46.   The capital expenditure for 2020 is
estimated to be N374, 153,920,743.00, which constitutes nearly 70% of the total
budget. The summary of sectoral allocations of the capital expenditure are as
follows:

·        Administrative sector:               –       15, 061,008,000.00

·        Economic sector;                       –      136, 444,523,766.60

·        Law and Justice:                       –       2, 400,000,000.00

·        Social sector                             -138,
558,553,322.35

·        Special Head:                    –   57, 367,124,462.05

·        Loan repayments                       –  24,322,731,192.00

47.   The substantial increase in capital over
recurrent expenditure, once again reflects and underscores our commitment to
direct more resources to the growth and productive sectors of our economy.

48.   What’s more, this Administration is poised
to fulfill every promise it made to our people. Consequently, various
expenditure portfolios have been allocated to all the relevant MDAs to fund
capital expenditures and deliver physical and socio-economic infrastructure and
development for our people.

9.    Allocations to Programmes

49.   The allocations of the 2020 budget to
development programmes are as follows:

(i)    Agriculture development

50.   Mr. Speaker, the time has come for us to
acknowledge that agriculture is very vital to the future progress and
prosperity of our State.

51.    We need to feed ourselves by ourselves with
what we can produce with our vast farmlands, most of which have remained
untapped.

52.   We need to replace our aging, mostly
subsistent farmers with our youths and modern commercial farming methods. We
need to generate jobs, income and other economic opportunities for our people
through agriculture.

53.   And the fact cannot be denied that all these
and more are possible with meaningful investments in agricultural development.

54.   In the last couple of months, we’ve
repeatedly spoken about our intention to revive agriculture in partnership with
the private sector while leveraging on the incentives from the Central Bank of
Nigeria and the s Federal Government.

55.   We are now set to match this promise with
viable actions with the provision of N40,400,000.00 billion to the agricultural
sector for the 2020 fiscal year. In specific terms, we will apply these funds
to:

(i)          Invest and support the commercial
production of cash and other crops to which we have relative advantages, such
as cassava, palm oil, yam, plantain, banana, rice and vegetables for both
domestic and export markets;

(ii)        Revive the school-to-land programme and
engage over 10,000 youths in commercial agriculture;

(iii)       Establish farmer input support programme
to provide farming inputs to farmers across the State;

(iv)    Train and build the capacity of Rivers
State farmers to engage in productive and profitable commercial agriculture,
including farming in crops, poultry, piggery, and fisheries;

(v)         Complete the Cassava Processing Plant
at Afam in Oyigbo Local Government Area; and

(vi)       Support and or partner with private
investors to participate in the various agricultural development schemes of the
Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Government.

(ii)   Education

56.   Mr. Speaker, our children deserve the best
education we can provide to equip and prepare them for the future, drive
economic growth and contribute to the development of their localities. From the
onset of our administration, we prioritized education because we recognized
that knowledge is everything pivotal to achieving human progress and
prosperity.

57.   Building on the progress of the last four
and half years, we will continue to ensure adequate funding for education in
Rivers State. It is for this reason that we are proposing the sum of N49.471
billion to fund the education sector for 2020. This sum represents 20% of the
total budget and is the highest ever budgetary allocation to education,
reflecting the level of our commitment to investing in the future of our
children.

58.   In 2020, we will continue to ensure the
systematic rehabilitation, upgrade and transformation of our primary, secondary
and tertiary institutions and build new ones where the population demands to
deliver a more conducive learning environment across schools in Rivers State.

59.   For basic education, we will promptly access
the contributory grant from the Federal Government and deploy same to improve
access, standards and quality. We will also continue to improve access to ICT
infrastructure, employ more teachers to further reduce the teacher/learners’
ratio, especially in English Language, Mathematics, Science and technology and
ensure the training and retraining of teachers to deliver measurable results
and outstanding outcomes in our primary and secondary schools.

60.   By God’s special grace, we will strive to
complete the ongoing reconstruction and remodeling of the following secondary
schools in 2020:

·        Enitonia High School, Port Harcourt in
Port Harcourt City Local Government Area;

·        Government Secondary School, Ogu in
Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area;

·        Community Secondary School, Rumuolumeni
in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;

·        Community Secondary School,
Rumuepirikom in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;

·        Bonny National Grammar School, Bonny in
Bonny Local Government Area,

·        Government Secondary School, Okarki in Ahoada
West Local Government Area,

·        Western Ahoada Central High School,
Ahoada in Ahoada East Local Government Area,

·        Government Secondary School, Abua in
Abua/Odual Local Government Area,

·        Government Secondary Schoo, Okporowo -Ogbakiri,
Emohua Local Government Area

·        Government Secondary School, Obuama in
Degema Local Government Area;

·        Community Secondary School, Omuanwa in
Ikwerre Local Government Area;

·        Model Secondary School Bakana in Degema
Local Government Area; and

·        Model Secondary School, Tombia in
Degema Local Government Area

61.    We will also continue to fund improvements
in physical and learning facilities in all our tertiary educational
institutions with our Education Infrastructure development grants, including
the development of the Ahoada and Emouha Campuses of the Rivers State
University, dedicated research funds, endowments, chairs and centres of
excellence in our universities.

62.   Furthermore, Government is committed to strengthening
the institutional framework to consolidate the investments and advance the
effective delivery of Technical and Vocational Education in the State.

(iii)  Healthcare Delivery

63.   Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members, we all
agree that providing quality healthcare for our people is the foundation for
economic development.

64.   You will further agree that we have achieved
significant milestones in our efforts to restore our healthcare system and
ensure access to affordable and quality healthcare services throughout the
State.

65.   We have renovated existing healthcare
facilities and built new ones across the State. Some health facilities,
including the Mother and Child hospital, are being equipped, while 2 out of the
5 regional referral hospitals are also ready for equipping.

66.   Only last month, we inaugurated the
radiology department of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospitals fully
equipped with critical equipment to deliver improved diagnostic, surgical and
therapeutic services and care for our people.

67.   But we recognize that there is still a lot
to do to enhance access to affordable, effective and efficient healthcare
system.

68.   We need to build and equip more health
faculties in needy and underserved communities and neighborhoods.

69.   We need more doctors, nurses and other
healthcare personnel to eliminate the shortages being experienced in our rural
areas.

70.   We need to ensure the sustainable
availability and affordability of essential drugs in our clinics and health
centres.

71.    This is why we have provided the sum of
N38,900,000,000.00 to the Ministry of Health for healthcare services for the
2020 fiscal year. The fund will be utilized to:

(i)     complete the ongoing rehabilitation,
upgrading and expansion of the 13 general hospitals spread across the State;

(ii)    complete and deliver the Mother and Child
hospital with capacity for 108 patients as well as the Degema and Bori regional
referral hospitals with combined capacities of over 200 beds;

(iii)   continue with the construction of the
remaining 3 regional hospitals at Okehi, Omoku and Ahoada to advanced stages;

(iv)   continue with the restructuring, upgrade and
expansion of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital;

(v)    complete and deliver the Comprehensive
Healthcare Centre at Odioku, Ahoada West Local Government Area;

 (vi)
complete, equip and deliver the reconstruction of the School of Nursing
and Midwifery to train nurses of international standards for the healthcare
system;

(vii)   improve on emergency medical services by
procuring more ambulances to ensure effective and more responsive emergency and
trauma management;

(viii)  ensure excellent coverage on immunization
against all vaccine-preventable childhood disease as well as provide effective
pre and post-natal and reproductive healthcare by the primary healthcare
centres;

(ix)   take appropriate measures to enhance
preventable measures to manage the burden of public healthcare costs, including
effective implementation of the Rivers State Contributory Healthcare Insurance
Scheme; and

(x)    continue to partner with local, regional
and international healthcare agencies, non-governmental organizations and
healthcare professionals to ensure better access to primary, secondary and tertiary
healthcare services as affordable rates.

(iv)   Road and other infrastructure development

72.   Mr. Speaker, and Honourable Members, for us,
good road network is the lifeblood of our development. We prioritized the
provision of road infrastructure and have been delivering quality roads that
match our vision for Rivers State from the inception of our administration. No
doubts, we have made tremendous impact in our first term and we are determined
to continue with the same vigour in our second term.

73.   Accordingly, the sum of N93,968,823,766.60
has been provided for the Ministry of Works to continue to fund our strategic
road development programme for 2020. Although several road projects are under
construction, we are confident about delivering the under-mentioned roads by
the end of 2020:

·        Kira – Sakpenwa – Bori – Kono road
linking Gokana Tai, and Khana Local Government Areas;

·        Andoni – Opobo Unity road linking
Opobo/Nkoro and Andoni Local Government Areas

·        Abonnema Ring Road in Akuku Toru Local
Government Area

·        Isiokpo internal roads in Ikwerre Local
Government Area

·        Rumuekini – Aluu road linking
Obio/Akpor and Ikwerre Local Government Area

·        Rumuepirikom internal roads in
Obio/Akpor Local Government Area

·        Rumuakunde and Isiodu roads in Emohua
Local Government Area;

·        Akaer Base road, Rumuolumeni in
Obio/Akpor Local Government Area

·        Expansion of Nzimiro, Herbert Macaulay,
Amassoma and other sundry streets within Amadi Flats, old GRA, Port Harcourt

·        Eteo – Sime – Nonwa – Kira road linking
Tai and Eleme Local; Government Areas;

·        Eleme – Afam road linikng Eleme and
Oyigbo Local “Government Areas;

·        Rumuji – Ibaa – obele – isiokpo road;

·        Omoku – Egbema road dualization in
Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area;

·        Ula Ehuda – Odioku – Anwunugboko –
Ubeta – Ihuechi – Odiereke road;

·        Omoku-Aligwu-Kreigani-Oduoboburu road;

·        Odieku community internal roads in
Ahoada West Local Government Area;

·        Abuloma/Fimie/Ozuboko and AmadiAma
Community road in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area;

·        Bolo community internal roads in
Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area;

·        Umuogba – Umuokpurukpu – Umueke –
UmunjuUmuelechi – Eberi roundabout link road in Omuma Local Government Area;

·        Rebisi Flyover in Port Harcourt City
Local Government Area;

·        Okoro-Nu-odu Flyover bridge at
Obio/Akpor Local Government Area;

·        Rumubiakani Flyover at Obio/Akpor Local
Government Area;

·        Expansion of Ikwerre road from
Education Bus stop to Igwuruta sections spanning Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor and
Ikwerrre Local Government Areas; and

·        Phase one of the Trans-Kalabari road
network.

74.   In addition, we’ve also warehoused the sum
of N26,087,783,322.35 with the Bureau for Special Projects to fund the
completion of key ongoing projects and the initiation of new ones, including:

·        Government Craft Centre, Port Harcourt;

·        Ogbunuabali/Nkpor sand-filled area and
shore protection;

·        National Union of Rivers State Students
Secretariat building;

·        Trade Union Congress Secretariat
building;

·        Government Secondary School, Eteo in
Eleme Local Government Area;

·        NYSC Orientation Camp Auditorium building;

·        D/Line electrification project;

·        Reconstruction of Port Harcourt High
Court Complex;

·        Appeal Court Judges quarters;

·        Sand-filling at Kula in Akuku Toru
Local Government Area;

·        Fencing of Ogbunabali/Nkpogusandfilled
area;

·        Air force base housing project;

·        Bolo internal roads and drainages in
Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area;

·        Odioku internal roads in Ahoada West
Local Government Area;

·        Rehabilitation of Bus-stops across the State

·        Land reclamation at Bakana in Degema
Local Government Area; and

·        Land reclamation at Abalama in Asari
Toru Local Government Area;

75.   Also, the sum of N3,000,000,000.00 is
allocated to the Ministry of Transport to complete the Bonny/Bile/Nembe jetty
and embark on other key projects, including rehabilitating of bus stops to
advance the transport sector in the State.

(v)   Youth and Women Empowerment

76.   Mr. Speaker, we are seriously concerned with
the high unemployment among the youth population, including university
graduates and the poverty among rural women, who, in most cases, constitute the
economic pillars of households in our communities.

77.   Consequently, the need to tackle household
poverty through economic empowerment and job creation cannot be
over-emphasized.

78.   Accordingly, we have allocated a combined
sum of N16 billion to the Ministries of Commerce and Industry, Empowerment and
Employment Generation, Youths, Sports, and Women Affairs to initiate,
coordinate and implement appropriate programmes for poverty eradication, job
creation and empowerment for youths and women. to create not less than five
hundred thousand jobs for our youths in 2020.

79.   Furthermore, Government will:

(i)          increase funding for the State’s
skill development centres to train and equip our youths with the necessary
skills sets and capabilities for self-employment and sustenance;

(ii)        institute an Employment Trust Fund to
offer interest-free loans of up to ten million Naira to youth and women
entrepreneurs across the State;

(iii)       recapitalize the State’s Micro Finance
Bank for our people to have increased access to loans at single digit interest
rates from the bank to fund small businesses;

(iv)       provide TVET training that is linked to
employment opportunities in collaboration with industries for ten thousand
youths;

(v)         Scale up training for more youths on
coding, animation, games development, cyber security, hardware and networks,
database administration at the State’s ICT incubation and innovation centre

(vi)       grant tax reliefs and other financial
incentives for companies and businesses that hire not less than five youths and
women of Rivers origin; and

(vii)     engage not less than ten thousand youths
and women in commercial agriculture in 2020.

(vi)   Sports and talent development

80.   Mr. Speaker, we recognize the power of
sports as a strategic pillar for the promotion of unity and youth development.
This is why we have prioritized sports development and we will continue to do
so until the end of our stewardship.

81.    Accordingly, we have earmarked the sum of
N7.5 billion for the Ministry of Sports for sports and talent development for
fiscal year 2020, which would be expended to:

(i)  build, rehabilitate and upgrade new and
existing sports facilities across the State;

(ii) complete the hostel
buildings and ensure the admission and take-off of the Real Madrid Football
Academy to nurture the next generation of world-class footballers for our
State;

(iii) restart construction work
on the long abandoned International Football School at Ebara in Etche Local
Government Area;

(iv) revive School sports events
and competitions across the State;

(v)  ensure the training and participation of
Rivers State contingent in national and international sporting events and
tournaments; and

(vi) host and or sponsor national
and international sporting events and clinics in Rivers State

(vii)  Rural Development

82.   Mr. Speaker, the development of our rural
areas is as important as the urban areas. We shall therefore continue to
mobilize resources and investments for the development of our rural communities
to improve their quality of life, reduce income inequality between urban and
rural areas and stem rural – urban migration.

83.   Apart from funds from the Special Projects
Bureau, the Ministries of Water Resources and Rural Development and Power also
have a provision of N3.2 billion to continue to drive the development of our
rural communities, including:

(i) providing basic
infrastructure for more rural communities across the State, including roads,
access to clean water, electricity, primary healthcare centres and security;
and

(ii) completing ongoing roads,
water, electricity and healthcare projects in the rural communities; and

(iii)locating commercial farms
and agro-allied industries to create jobs, stimulate economic growth and
enhance empowerment for our rural communities;

(iv)       ending open defecation and protecting
the forest, environment and maritime resources of our communities from
degradation.

(vii)  Enhanced security of lives and property

84.   Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members, the
recent travel advisory by the United States shows that Rivers State is much
safer for residents, businesses, and tourists, thanks to the efforts and
support we have been giving to the security agencies to ensure that our State
is peaceful, safe and secure.

85.   We wish to assure you that we shall not
relent on our determination to keep Rivers State safe and secure. To this end,
we will continue to prioritize funding for security services for as long as the
threat exists.

86.   Accordingly, we have provided the sum of 23
billion naira to ensure all-round security cover for Rivers State. The money so
provided will be spent to:

(i)          provide vehicular, necessary security
gadgets, logistics and other operational support for all the security agencies,
including the armed forces to enable them provide 24 hours security patrol,
reconnaissance, intelligence gathering and operations throughout the State;

(ii)        provide more gun-boats to the Nigerian
Navy to patrol and ensure security in our waterways;

(iii)       provide, strengthen and sustain the
operations and services of the special security squad (Operation Sting);

(iv)       prepare the policy and legal framework
for the establishment of the Rivers State Security Trust Fund and ensure its
operationalization;

(v)         strengthen the Ministry of Justice and
the States Judiciary to ensure prompt and effective prosecution of accused
persons; and

(vi)       strengthen the capacity of Local
Government Chairmen, traditional rulers, and Community leaders to ensure peace
and security in our communities; and

(vii)     set up the State Emergency Centre to
manage and coordinate all emergency, security and information concerns in the
State.

(viii) Water supply, sanitation
and environment

87.   Mr. Speaker, to improve access to water and
sanitation, we shall continue to implement the Port Harcourt Urban Water Scheme
as to provide clean and safe pipe-borne water to cover over two million
residents of Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.

88.   The bidding process for this this project
being undertaking with the credit from the African Development Bank and the
World Bank will soon be completed and pave way for practical execution.

89.   We will also continue to implement the
State’s Rural Water and Sanitation Programmes in conjunction with European
Union and other international development partners to provide clean and safe
water to our people in the rural communities across the State. There is a
cumulative of allocation of 1.855 billion naira for the funding of urban and
rural water schemes across the State.

90.   The sum of N5,000,000,000.00 is provided to
fund sanitation services although we also intend to introduce some form of cost
recovery from the public as the burden of keeping Rivers State clean continues
to escalate.

91.    We have also provided over a billion naira
to the Ministry of Environment to promote and protect our environment, combat
illegal mining and enforce strict compliance with the States laws, policies and
standards on our environment.

(ix)  Deployment of ICTfor Service Delivery

92.   This year we rolled out several ICT
platforms to reduce the cost of governance and enhance transparent, accountable
and effective public service delivery.

93.   As at today, the Ministries of Education,
Health, the Judiciary, aswell as, the State’s Internal Revenue Services have
all been connected to the State’s e-Governance platform and are delivery
relevant public services to the public electronically, thereby reducing the
cost of doing business and enhanced information management in these ministries
and departments.

94.   In 2020 we shall continue to expand the
reach to more MDAs and connect them to the Government Wide Area Network to
ensure that government transactions are almost completely paperless and
efficient. Already, the Ministries of Lands as well Urban Development and
Physical Planning are set to launch their own electronic platform for their
transactions while other departments would follow in due course.

95.   Against this background, the sum of
N1,000,000,000.00is provided in this budget to drive the implementation of the
Government’s e-Governance programme for 2020.

(x)   Culture and tourism

96.   Mr. Speaker, Our State is rich in culture
and tourism. Our goal therefore is to make Rivers State a foremost tourist
destination in Nigeria. This is why we have allocated the sum of
N700,000,000.00.of the 2020 budget to the culture and tourism sector to develop
various tourism sites and attractions, including ecotourism sites in the State.

97.   In addition, we have provided N300 million
to the State Tourism Development Agency for tourism projects and the
development and implementation of a tourism marketing Strategy for the State.
We shall also take steps to to develop the local entertainment industry,
including our cultures, traditions, music, drama, film and other creative arts
as part of our tourism promotion strategy.

(x)   Housing, social protection and humanitarian
interventions

98.   Government intends to accelerate housing
delivery for low-income earners in partnership with private investors. We have
accordingly approved a number of land allocations to some private developers at
the Greater Port Harcourt City.

99.   The Ministries of Lands and Housing, and the
Rivers State Housing and Property Development Authority have an aggregate
allocation of N5.063 billion to facilitate the development and delivery of
viable housing schemes for 2020.

100.  On their part, the Ministries of Social
Welfare and Special Duties are allocated the sum of N2,500,000.000.00 to provide
support for the vulnerable groups, including people living with disabilities,
carryout humanitarian interventions and advance social protection.

Conclusion

101.  Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, the 2020
Budget has carefully been designed to have immense impact on economic growth,
infrastructure and human capital development, job creation and effective
security for our people, which are the drivers of the human prosperity.

102.  For years, we have worked as a team to
resolve the development challenges that have held us down and kept us in the
backwaters of socio-economic progress. And together we have made tremendous
progress in all indices of human development.

103.  Our economy is better and still growing. Our
infrastructure is much more solid and expanding. Our educational system has
improved in access, quality and standards. Our healthcare system is improving
and more efficient.

104.  But poverty, unemployment and the harsh
conditions under which our people are living are blightingthe progress we are
presently making in economic growth and infrastructural delivery, because it is
a jobless growth and our youths suffer when a supposedly growing economy fails
to create jobs and other opportunities for them to make their dreams come true.

105.  I want to assure you, Mr. Speaker, that this
budget contains deliberate, specific and targeted policies and programmes to
address, not only the challenges of poverty and development, but also, the
overarching concerns of our youths and women for empowerment, inclusiveness and
a future to long for. This government keeps promises and we will keep our
promise to increase youth participation in the governance and development
process of our State.

106.  Thus, the theme of this Budget is christened:
Budget of “Reassurance, profound impact for inclusive growth and shared
prosperity”.

107.  We will build and consolidate on the gains
and progress of 2019 to deliver on the commitment of this budget for the
benefit of our people. We will mobilize resources from the different sources
and scale up investments in infrastructure, human capital development and the
productive sectors of our economy to create jobs and improve the wellbeing of
our people. And as our economy grows and creates opportunities, our people will
benefit and enjoy a better standard of living.

108.  Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I am
confident that, working together, and with the support and prayers of our
people, we can achieve the set targets of this budget.

109.  Let me therefore appeal to us to come
together as a united people under God and work for a united, peaceful,
progressive and prosperous Rivers State. Together we can do it for our State.

110.  Mr. Speaker, on this note, I commend the 2020
Budget of our dear Rivers State for favourable consideration by this August
House.

111.  Thank you and may God continue to bless
Rivers State.

2020 Budget

Previous 2020 BUDGET APPROPRIATION LAW – BUDGET SPEECH AND SUMMARIES

Leave Your Comment