David Umahi, the governor of Ebonyi State on Friday, December 13, 2019, presented a budget of N178.1 billion for 2020 to the state House of Assembly.
The budget was lower than the 2019 figure of 188.4 billion.
Umahi while presenting the budget, tagged ‘budget of growth, consolidation and transformation, expressed appreciation to the House and other critical stakeholders who ensured the effective implementation of the 2019 budget.
The governor said the budget has a recurrent expenditure of N46.08 billion representing 25.8 per cent and capital expenditure of N132 billion representing 74.1 percent.
“The increase in the capital expenditure is due to the borrowing from the African Development Bank, ADB, for the construction of the state ring road.
“It is pertinent to state that the fund is still with the ADB and not paid into the state’s accounts as the contractors will generate certificate and get paid directly from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN,” he said.
Umahi said personnel cost in the budget was N18.4 billion with provisions for payment of the new minimum wage for workers in the state.
“I use this opportunity to urge the organised labour to hasten its negotiations with government on the minimum wage for its implementation.
“I have maintained that the minimum wage starts with the Local Government Areas, LGAs, because a chain is as strong as its weakest link.
“Whatever is agreed at the LGA level is what we will pay and I maintain that no LGA should spend more than 60 per cent of its earning on paying salaries.
“The World Bank has instructed that citizens must be part of budgeting which means that they must be accommodated in it with every fund of the state belonging to them,” he said.
Umahi noted that works and infrastructure has been allocated N54.1 billion (30.8 per cent) education—N27 billion (15. 21 per cent) health—N15.4 billion (8.6 per cent) human capital development and commerce and industry—N8.billion (4.5 per cent).
“Agriculture will receive N3.7 billion ( 2.1 per cent) security—N2.6 billion (1.5 per cent) as the government desires to enhance the agricultural capabilities of the state and improve its general hospitals,” he said.
Francis Nwifuru, the speaker, commended Umahi for painstakingly implementing the 2019 budget and its preceding ones and assured of the House continued collaboration for the good of the state.
“I urge my colleagues to ensure expeditious passage for the governor to consolidate on his infrastructural and other dividends of democracy bequeathed on the people,” he said.