Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue on Thursday presented the 2021 appropriation bill of N132.5 billion to the State House of Assembly for consideration and passage.
According to Ortom, the figure represents N23.7 billion, or 18 per cent, increase over the revised 2020 budget.
The governor said that N90.8 billion was proposed as the estimate for Recurrent Expenditure, while N41.7 was earmarked for Capital Expenditure.
Ortom also presented a supplementary budget estimate of N20 billion for 2020 for consideration, adding that the revised 2020 Budget anticipated aggregate revenue estimate was N108.8 billion.
He said that the Economic Sector would get N51.3 billion, the Social Sector would receive N44.5 billion, Administrative Services would receive N33.8 billion, while Law and Justice would get N2.8 billion.
The governor said that his administration was working hard to improve the quality and impact of its expenditure to spur effective development.
“We are also working to improve the quality and impact of our expenditure. To this end, we are establishing a budget intelligence unit and also strengthening the existing efficiency unit in the ministry of finance to monitor the quality of expenditure.
“We are undertaking state-wide payroll reform, including the deployment of technology using the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS).
“We are also making good progress towards the comprehensive implementation of the Treasury Single Account; completion of the Benue State Geographic Information Service (BENGIS) project, which will enhance data for planning and monitoring as well as improve revenue administration,” he said.
Ortom noted that the global impact of COVID-19 on national economies would be an inhibiting factor in the successful implementation of the 2021 budget.
“We are exploring every opportunity to ensure that this budget works for our people in spite of all the constraints.
“We are undertaking a debt sustainability analysis with the aim of restructuring some of our existing financial obligations; thereby, reducing the monthly repayment burden on our revenues.”
The governor said that the 2020 budget had to be revised, owing to the debilitating impact of COVID-19 and the oil price war between Russia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“The economic pressures and fiscal constraints that prompted the downward revision of 2020 budget are still very much with us, and the outlook for 2021 and beyond is not rosy.
“In addition to these are the high rate of unemployment and poverty, insecurity, youth restiveness and breakdown in citizens’ trust of government highlighted in the recent #EndSARS protests.”
The governor said that in spite of the paucity of funds, his administration had been able to make significant achievements in the areas in education, infrastructure, health care in 2020.
He said that by the end of the second quarter of 2020, the state generated N47.4 billion, representing 43.63 per cent of the approved aggregate revenue estimates.
In his remarks, the Speaker, Benue House of Assembly, Mr Titus Uba, assured the governor that the House would give the proposed budget adequate attention.