Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members
1. I stand here today in this Hallowed Chamber, to fulfill a constitutional and cardinal responsibility of my Office, to present the Estimates of Revenues and Expenditure for the Fiscal Year, 2024.
2. Let me on behalf of the Executive Arm of Government, thank you, Mr. Speaker and all the Honourable Members of this great 8th Assembly for the cooperation you have extended to me so far, as we work painstakingly to ARISE and fulfill the dreams our forebears nourished, to have a great, prosperous, united and inclusive State.
3. Mr. Speaker, and the Honorable Members, this is a little emotional for me, because this is the first time I am appearing before you, as the Governor of this Land of Promise. I want to thank God and our good people, our great Party, the PDP, the Campaign Council headed by His Excellency, Chief Assam Assam, the Fathers in- faith and indeed the entire Evangelical community in the State, the various groups, for the support they gave me, leading to my overwhelming victory at the March 18th, 2023 gubernatorial polls.
4. Let me thank President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for being a father to all and The Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Distinguished Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio CON for pledging to support us across party line to succeed. Let me again thank and celebrate my political father, His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, CON, for seeing in me, what others may not have seen. Permit me also to acknowledge all the formers Governors especially, Former Governor Obong Arc. Victor Attah. Let me on behalf of the Government and people of Akwa Ibom State once again wish him a Happy Birthday. Together, we will ARISE and raise our State to such an enviable level that would be the pride of this Nation and indeed the black world. We have the will, we have the resolve, we have the passion and God is with us
5. Let me again congratulate the new Honorable Members and the returning ones and to pledge our readiness to work collaboratively with you all, without rancor or acrimony. As co-leaders in the service of our dear State and our people, I know that we may have some disagreements once in a while. I plead that, whenever such issues may arise between us, we should endeavor to resolve them, with open heart, candor and brotherly disposition. We must remain resolutely committed to serving our people, ensuring sustainable development and raising our standard of living.
6. Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members, our governance philosophy is predicated on the five critical pillars of development that are expressly captured in our ARISE Agenda: Agricultural Revolution, Rural Development, Infrastructural Maintenance, Security Management and Educational Advancement.
7. So far, we have hit the grounds running and in a little over five months, we have translated the vision in practical and measurable terms. We are ready to ignite agricultural revolution, and a practical demonstration of this, is the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Songhai Farms, the internationally renowned farm operators and the subsequent trip we undertook to their facilities in Porto-Novo, Benin Republic.
8. The first of such model farms is set to start operations in Nsit Ubuim, (being the first local government area that had provided us over fifty thousand hectares of land.) I urge other local government council chairmen to expedite the process of donation of lands for our laudable program in Agriculture.
9. I thank those that have already concluded on this issue. We want to ignite agricultural revolution and ensure food security for our people through the provision of our staple food at affordable prices and for export. We also are determined to invest heavily in our blue economy and improve the living standards and financial success of our fishermen. We recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian Navy for the establishment of Ibom Fish City, an ambitious project aimed at maximizing our comparative advantage in blue economy.
10. We are constructing model primary schools which will rank amongst be the best in the nation. The first of such is currently ongoing at the Christ the King School, on Wellington Bassey Way. We will replicate this model in all the ten Federal Constituencies and eventually to all the 31 local government areas. We believe the foundation for enduring education starts at the primary level and the environment we expose our kids to, will make the difference in their later educational pursuits.
11. Education still remains free and compulsory at the primary to secondary levels. We are confident, with the inviting and conducive environment we are providing through the model schools, complete with the free uniforms, books and shoes there will be huge increase in our enrollment rates. We are continuing with the payment of WAEC fees and subventions to the tertiary institutions. We are offering bursary to students of tertiary instructions after proper certifications may have been done. We have also released One Hundred Million Naira to support physical challenge students in tertiary institutions.
12. Our determination to open up our rural areas remain deep and abiding. We want to bring governance closer to the people and we hope to achieve this, by improving further the living conditions of our rural dwellers. We will continue to construct access roads, which already we have started, in Nsit Ibom/Ibesikpo Asutan, Ikot Ekpene and Oron Local Government areas respectively. We will extend this, to other parts of the State. The campaign promise I made to construct Ndiya Street, in Udua Akpan Andem, has been fulfilled, within the first 100 Days of this Administration. Dakkada Oil Palm is being restructured as I speak, we have gotten seedling for this great project. We have started the One Project per One Local Government, We have also secured funds to construct lodges for Local Government Chairmen, the first of this will be flagged-off in December in Eket, Social Register is to be lunch very soon, we have also set up monitoring and Evaluation Team that is domicile in Governor’s Office to ensure that Project are executed according to specification. You may have already read that I have authorized the payment of additional one month salary in December bringing it to thirteen months. This is to bring Christmas cheers to our Civil Servants and very soon we will lunch AKWAGIS.
13. To maintain our status as one of the safest States in the Nation, we have created a full-fledged Ministry of Internal Security and Waterways and the Neighborhood Watch program we have initiated, will provide jobs to over Five Thousand youths and also help protect our assets in communities across the State. Ibom Air continues to growth phenomenally. We are receiving the first of the ten brand new Air buses from first week of December, we have met all obligations in this regard.
14. We are blessed with world-class road network in this State, and we want to expand on this and ensure robust maintenance culture. Work is also ongoing with the Primary Healthcare Centers in Ibesikpo Asutan, Akai Ubuim in Nsit Ubium, in Urue Offong Oruko. We will soon have ambulance services in all the Local Government Areas as well as homes for the elderly.
15. Since we came in, over 5.3 billion Naira has been released to pay gratuities to retired primary school teachers, Local Government and State Civil servants. You will agree with me, that this, has been a great move and we thank our people for the outpouring of commendations we have received so far. We have also release funds for payment of leave grants. We are committed to paying down the backlog of gratuities to the best of the resources available.
16. I am a man of peace, and everything I have done, since I came in, has been in fulfillment of what I had stated in my inaugural speech that I will reconcile our people and lessen the poisonous political atmosphere in our State. We are one, and politics will not divide us and I hope our leaders will join me in ensuring that, we do not manufacture non-existent issues to gain political mileage.
REVIEW OF THE PERFORMANCE OF 2023 BUDGET
17. Mr. Speaker, a total of ₦850.000 billion was approved for 2023 Fiscal Year with a total recurrent expenditure of ₦394.315 billion and the capital votes of ₦455.685 billion. The breakdown is as follows:
i) Recurrent Expenditure – ₦394.315
ii) Capital Expenditure – ₦455.685
TOTAL – ₦850.000
18. As at September, 2023, the total recurrent revenue collected was N326.420 billion representing 80.5% of the prorated approved provision for the period (January – September). The sum of N62.082 billion was realized from other capital Receipts excluding recurrent surplus. This represents 26.8% of the prorated approved provision for the period.
A total of N135.681 billion was spent on Capital programmes within the same period which represents 39.7% of the prorated provision for the period. Our Capital Budget Expenditure is described in Details in the Budget Implementation Report, which has been prepared to facilitate your consideration of the Draft 2024 Budget.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2024 BUDGET
19. The 2024 Budget, which is christened “ARISE BUDGET FOR GROWTH AND EXPANSION”, is predicated on an oil benchmark of $73.96 per barrel at a production rate of 1.78 million barrels per day with an estimated exchange rate of ₦700 /US$, in line with the National Budget benchmark projections.
The National GDP has been projected at 3.76% growth rate with National inflation rate of 21%.
THE 2024 BUDGET SIZE
20. Government has proposed a total budgetary outlay of N845.632 billion for the 2024 Financial Year as against the approved revised provision of N850.000 of 2023 representing a decrease of 0.5% from the 2023 revised budget.
This is made up of:
Recurrent Expenditure – N352.917 billion
Capital Expenditure – N492.715 billion
Total – ₦845.632 billion
STATE GOVERNMENT REVENUE ESTIMATES
21. The total projected Recurrent Revenue for 2024 is estimated at ₦561.000 billion as against the approved revised provision of ₦540.850 billion representing 3.7% increase in revenue projection for the year 2024.
The breakdown is as follows:
Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) – ₦60.000 billion
Statutory Revenue – ₦55.000 billion
Derivation Revenue – ₦280.000 billion
13% Derivative Revenue Arrears – ₦51,000 billion
Exchange Gain, Augmentation and others – ₦60.000 billion
Excess Crude – ₦10.000 billion
Value Added Tax (VAT) – ₦45.000 billion
Total – ₦561,000 billion
22. For the 2024 Fiscal Year, Recurrent Expenditure which is proposed at ₦352.737 billion is made up of:
i.) Personnel Cost – ₦85.431 billion
ii.) Overhead Cost – ₦141.286 billion
iii.) Social contribution & Benefit
(Pension & Gratuity) – ₦41.500 billion
iv.) Grant, Contribution & Subsidies – ₦1.500 billion
v.) Others – ₦83.200 billion
Total Recurrent Expenditure – ₦352.917 billion
23. The total Capital Receipts and Expenditure for the year 2024 is estimated at N492.715 billion as against the approved revised provision of N455.685 billion for 2023. A total projected Capital Receipts shows that N208.083 billion will be transferred from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, while the balance of N284.632 billion is to be realized as follows
i.) Opening Balance from 2023 account – ₦60.000 billion
ii.) Direct Credit Substitute/Receivable
Discounting Facility/Internal Loan – ₦164.632 billion
iii.) External Bank Loan – ₦20.000 billion
iv.) Grants – ₦21.000 billion
v.) Ecological Fund – ₦5.000 billion
vi.) Reimbursement from Federal Govt. on Roads – ₦2.000 billion
viii.) Other exceptional Income – ₦10.000 billion
ix.) Stabilisation Account – ₦2.000 billion
Total – ₦492.715 billion
25. The sectoral allocation of the total budget outlay of N845.632billion for the year 2024 is presented as follows:
S/NO. SECTOR ALLOCATION
N (Billion) PERCENTAGE OF ALLOCATION (%)
1 Administration 174.448 20.6
2 Economic 538.881 63.7
3 Law and Justice 15.780 1.9
4 Regional 0.449 0.1
5 Social 116.074 13.7
Total 845.632 100.00
The Honourable Commissioner for Finance will as usual provide additional details on the sectoral allocations tomorrow Wednesday 22nd November, 2023.
2024 BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES
26. To realize the year 2024 Budget objectives, the following strategies shall be adopted by the State Government:
Partner with foreign investors to invest in the relevant and key sectors of the State economy and undertake robust human capital development.
❖ Widen the industrial base of the State through rapid industrialization and investment activities by providing enabling environment for the private sector to thrive. This is to enhance the availability of goods and services for domestic use as well as for export.
❖ Achieving at least 10% increase in IGR by eliminating evasion in payment, wastages and leakages in collection and expenditure and developing tourism potentials.
❖ Stimulate the Agricultural and Agro-allied industries to boost production of local farmers to ensure food sufficiency for local consumption, exports as well as the provision of raw materials for the industries.
❖ Expand and maintain infrastructure and services in Health-Care Delivery at Primary and Secondary levels and to safeguard the State against any further public health emergencies after COVID-19 pandemic.
❖ Improve service delivery in the Education sector, with emphasis on culturally, morally and technologically based education.
❖ Continue to empower women and youth through capacity building, empowerment, skill acquisition and elimination of gender discrimination practices.
❖ Enhance delivery of qualitative and prompt service by public servants, through effective intra and inter MDAs collaboration by digitizing operations
❖ Provide recreational and sporting facilities to increase life expectancy, boost sports development and ensure improved performance of the State representatives at Local, National and International sporting competitions.
❖ Strengthen performance monitoring mechanism with central coordinating unit at the Ministry of Economic Development.
❖ Improve fiscal transparency and accountability in all MDAs with emphasis on cost effectiveness in all programs and projects of government.
❖ Adopt the principles of cost minimization and waste reduction in all government expenditure.
❖ Promotion of cultural and sports tourism to earn more foreign exchange for Akwa Ibom State.
The Honorable Commissioner for Finance, will as usual provide additional details on the sectoral allocations.
27. Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members, thank you very much for your kind attention. Once again, let us celebrate and thank God Almighty for His mercies and goodness towards us. It is by His mercy that we will achieve all these lofty and noble goals enumerated in this Budget as we march gingerly into The Golden Era of our growth and development.
29. Thank you and God bless you. Akwa Ibom ARISE!