The Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, on Wednesday, presented the 2024 Appropriation Bill of N480.993 billion christened ‘Budget of Sustainable and Shared Prosperity’ to the House of Assembly for consideration.
The 2024 fiscal year’s estimates are N41.722 billion higher than the approved 2023 budget of N439.271 billion, currently under implementation by the state government.
He lamented that “the greatest challenge in the course of implementation of the 2023 budget is the high inflation rate in the country”, noting that current reports from the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that food inflation was about 31.5% while inflation hovered around 27 per cent.
Diri, however, said a general analysis of the budget performance, as of September 2023, showed that his administration “had achieved an overall performance of 73 per cent, where both the recurrent and capital expenditures got due attention.”
He claimed that the implementation of the 2023 budget achieved considerable success and consistency in critical areas such as security, education, agriculture, health, works and infrastructure, sports and the civil service.
Presenting the 2024 budget proposal, the governor said the fiscal document was consistent with the assumptions contained in the state’s 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper which the Assembly approved in October 2023.
The total recurrent expenditure is N154.096 billion representing 46.41 per cent, while total capital expenditure would gulp N257,777 billion which is 53.59 per cent.
Giving a breakdown of the budgetary allocation, which covered only nine sectors, Diri said Works and Infrastructure got N141.837 billion; Education N49.888 billion; Health N26.041 billion; Environment N15.554 billion; Agriculture N14.886 billion; Power N6.049; Lands and Housing N6.876 billion; Youths and Sports N7.656 billion; Transport N6.424 billion.
He explained that the budget would be financed through an opening balance of N13.625bn, statutory allocation of N57 billion, VAT N36 billion, 13 per cent derivation of N208.920 billion, IGR N23.869 billion and other capital receipts (stamp duties, loans, grants etc) N141.578 billion.
“We are guided by the desire to prepare a realistic, implementable and prioritized budget which is a reflection of the aspirations and wishes of critical stakeholders, and the economic realities in the country,” he said.
Diri assured the legislature that the executive arm would ensure strict discipline, transparency and due process in the implementation of the 2024 budget.
He also said that the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning had been empowered to regularly analyse, monitor and evaluate the budget performance against the various policies, programmes and projects of the government.
While appealing to the Assembly to give the 2024 fiscal document expeditious approval, Diri expressed the hope that the lawmakers’ subsequent oversight of the implementation of the budget would bring greater dividends to the people of the state.
In his remarks, the speaker of the 24-member House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, commended the governor and his team for the administration’s achievements, assuring him that the legislature would prioritise the consideration and passage of the budget.