DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!
It is my honour and pleasure to present to this distinguished Honorable House, the 2017 Budget of Abia State. As you are aware, our Budgets have been tailored to follow the Medium Term Expenditure Framework which looks at projections for 3-year plan period. This Budget therefore has projections for years 2017 to 2019 and is compliant with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).
The State is committed to fiscal management process in line with international best practices, making our State investment-friendly to foreign investors. This Budget is therefore packaged with the right policy formation, fiscal planning, budget analysis, accountability and routine financial management and will compare favourably with others.
It is common knowledge that the Nigerian economy is in recession. This has greatly determined the direction of our projections and informed the theme of the Budget. The 2017 Budget is christened â€œBudget of Prudence and Self Relianceâ€. This clearly shows governmentâ€™s direction and the need to adjust accordingly. In the present harsh economic conditions being faced by Nigeria in general and Abia State in particular, prudence and self reliance demand that we balance our priorities against available resources and apply ourselves to looking inwardly to keep the ship of state sailing. In the present circumstance, the adage of â€œwhen the going gets tough the tough gets goingâ€ aptly applies in the way and manner the economic/financial engineering of the Stateâ€™s resources will be handled in 2017.
We must take steps to show prudence and frugality in our financial management as well as tenacity of purpose in taking our destinies in our hands so that together, we can make Abia the envy of others.
In preparing this Budget, emphasis was shifted from applying our limited resources on many projects, to concentrating and focusing on our chosen pillars of development. The expectation is that we can quickly boost trade and commerce, agriculture and agribusiness as well as catalyze the emergence of a vibrant small and medium scale manufacturing hub in Abia. Every effort will be made in the 2017 fiscal year to develop the critical infrastructure that will guarantee our development.
Mr. Speaker, Honourable members of the House of Assembly, let me emphasize here that the outcome of this Budget is expected to give Abians access to quality agricultural produce; unhindered qualitative and affordable health care; access to qualitative education; security for all and give fillip to commercial activities.
Concerning Aba which is critical to the improvement of our IGR, every effort will be made in 2017 to sustain the vibrancy of the commercial capital of Abia State so it can operate at maximal capacity.
Review of the 2016 Budget
The 2016 fiscal year witnessed a great shock in relation to the realization of the projected revenue. Considering the prevailing and daunting challenges causing macro and micro-economic disequilibria in the country at large and the State in particular, this administration has performed creditably.
HEATH:In the health subsector, at the primary/tertiary health care levels, we were able to rehabilitate, renovate and attract re-accreditation of 3 (three) Schools of Nursing and Mid-wifery at Aba, Umuahia and Abiriba and the right teaching staff were engaged. We also attracted and are now partnering with MTN Foundation. Through this partnership and support, we refurbished 4 (four) maternity and children wards in 4 (four) General hospitals as well as carried out routine immunizations in the State.
The State also partnered with the Carter Centre and in addition, we were able to meet the World Health Organisationâ€™s conditions on â€œThe Save One Million Lives Initiativeâ€ which has entitled us to receive 1M Dollars in grant.
At the Abia State University Teaching Hospital, we were able to equip and upgrade the services offered there. The Internal Medicine, Anaesthesia, Surgery, Paediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynaecology (O&G) and Radiology areas of medicine benefited. The Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Centres were not left out. The Eye and Dialysis sections are functioning optimally. We are partnering with the Eye Foundation Hospital, Lagos in our effort to upgrade the status of the centre. We procured and installed an Echocardiogram machine for heart diseases diagnoses.
AGRICULTURE: In 2016, collaborating with the Public Private Partnership Office, the Ministry of Agriculture carried out series of interviews of prospective Investors for the development of the Oil Palm, Rubber, Rice, Cassava, and Red Meat Value Chains.
Other strides were made in the following areas:
– We planted up the 3058Ha fallow land at the Ohambele Oil Palm Estate with 100,000 sprouted Tenera nuts;
– We Raised 2million sprouted Tenera nuts at Ayaba Umueze, Osisioma LGA.;
– Initiated action to recover Governmentâ€™s Oil Palm Estates at Erei in Okon Aku, Ohafia LGA and Ozuitem in Bende LGA;
– Planted 10,000Ha of farm with cassava at Omuma Uzo in Ukwa West LGA;
– Acquired heavy agricultural equipment under agricultural mechanization;
– Massively supported farmers by supplying fertilizers and other inputs at subsidized prices;
– Initiated registration of farmers to be able to key into the Anchor-Borrowers Loan facility packaged by CBN; and Paid the State Counterpart fund for FADAMA III to improve on our agricultural practices.
Our target in Abia is to become the largest supplier of exotic palm seedlings in Nigeria with stock of over 7 million seedlings by 2019. Similarly, Abia State is partnering with private partners to create Cashew plantations in all the LGAs. Expectedly, over 100,000 youths will be employed in these plantations and the consequent processing factories.
COMMERCE & INDUSTRY: In the year under review, we ramped up our Made-In-Aba Marketing Campaign which has yielded tremendous positive fruits. Everyone is now conscious of the efforts and ingenuity our producers in Aba and we have been able to get top influencers in politics and entertainment to sign-up as goodwill ambassadors for Made-In-Aba Products. Our efforts have led to new orders worth about N750 Million in 2016. Building on the success of the campaign in 2016, we will graduate the campaign to cover the entire chain of everything produced in Abia State in 2017 so that we can create new markets for our people.
We are partnering with private Developers to build an Abia Leather and Garment Industrial City at Umukalika while simultaneously expanding existing markets in-situ for those who would not want to move to the new locations. The Aba Mega Mall has been completed in partnership with Greenfield Company Limited. Umuahia Shoprite Mall was completed and has been officially opened. Abia Hotels in Aba have been privatised under lease agreement and that at Umuahia has been upgraded. The Ohiya Industrial Cluster was expanded. We also conducted computer skills acquisition programmes to increase computer literacy for Abians.
EDUCATION: We have made significant strides in Education. At the primary/secondary school levels, we have maintained tuition-free education. We also launched the Free Lunch Programme at the primary school level. The teachers have been made to go through sessions of training and retraining programmes. Still under our Made-In-Aba Campaign, we commissioned free School Sandals for our pupils in public schools.
Abians in the Diaspora also keyed in to order free school sandals for pupils in their localities. The State has maintained its pride of place (1st position) for 2 years running in the overall performance of students in the WAEC. Meawhile, so far, 18 Secondary Schools in the State have been renovated and provided with Boreholes for improved sanitary conditions. Many friends and development partners have constructed new Primary Schools under our Friends of Abia Adopt A School Initiative (FASAI). At the tertiary level, many more disciplines have been introduced and many others re-accredited. We have moved Faculties in our tertiary institutions to locations where they will have better advantages and we have built new learning facilities to accommodate the relocation.
OIL AND GAS: In the oil and gas sector, we are in partnership with the Shell Petroleum Development Company on the implementation of the Global Memorandum of Understanding between SPDC and 13 Communities in Ukwa West.
We have also we entered into an MoU with Techno Oil and Gas Company, Lagos on additional oil prospection in Abia State.
HOUSING: In the area of Housing, we were able to achieve the following:
– Completed the Investment House which serves as our One Stop Investment Centre/PPP/Board of Internal Revenue/Bureau of Public Procurement Headquarters complex;
– Realised 20 Housing units and 4 ongiong ones in Isieke Housing Estate;
– Completely renovated the Child/Maternal Healthcare Department at ABSUTH; and
– Renovated the Governorâ€™s Lodge and initiated action on establishing an MoU with a Private Developer for Obuaku City Project.
WORKS AND TRANSPORT: A total of 32 roads and 2 bridges have been completed whereas 26 roads are ongoing.
Many of them have been commissioned at Aba and Umuahia.
The Inland Water Way project at Obuaku (Obuaku River Port Complex) is on course. This project when completed will connect the State to the Atlantic Ocean and large sea vessels will have easy access. This will boost commerce; create employment opportunities for the youth as well as revenue for the State.
WATER RESOURCES: Under our â€œWater Must Flow Initiativeâ€, we have been able to record appreciable successes. We have completed the Phase 1 of the Umuahia Regional Water Scheme. Aba and others are ongoing. The State has attracted a World Bank-assisted programme through the 3rd National Urban Water Sector Reform Project. We want to drive water supply in a more efficient and effective manner. Consequently we shall be introducing the metering system in 2017.
REVENUE PERFORMANCE AS AT 3RD QUARTER 2016:
The Recurrent Revenue as at the third quarter of 2016 was observed to be N32,621,304,723 representing 66.46% performance.
On the other hand, the total Capital Expenditure which largely represents government investment in infrastructure is remarkable. The FAAC, VAT, Derivation and other capital receipts fell short of the Stateâ€™s expectations. The Internally Generated Revenue did not perform better.
The breakdown is as follows:
Statutory Allocation from:
Federation Account N28,892,283,276.24
Internally Generated Revenue N8,782,028,487.25
Whereas a total of N56,608,830,097.50 was projected, N37,621,304,723.40 was realised. This comes to 66.46% performance. Howbeit, we were undaunted in doing the best we could to get to the extent our resources could carry us. We are all the more determined to put in place measures to ensure an improvement in revenue generation in 2017. This is very important, especially when we look at the dwindling revenue from the Federation Account.
The overall performance of the budget as at the end of third quarter of 2016 showed we achieved 52.98%.
We expect considerable increase in the level of expenditure within the 4th quarter, due to the rehabilitation and construction work going on in the State, especially in Aba (when we will maximize the advantage of the advent of the dry season).
The 2017 Budget:
The Philosophy and Thrust:
In the 2017 fiscal year, we intend to consolidate on the achievement already recorded between 2015-2016. Consequently, government will strengthen governance by doubling effort to increase the returns on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). This will be through the expansion and improvement of our revenue windows/base with proper accounting in addition to the agencies put in place to help increase our IGR.
Furthermore, all avenues of leakages shall be plugged. We also intend, in the main, to execute projects in the five pillars as well as in areas that will have revenue yielding potentials. We are not going to relent in our avowed resolve to turn around Aba by the development of the infrastructure that will positively impact on peopleâ€™s investment. In addition to the foregoing thrust, the macro-economic framework that will drive the 2017 budget shall be, but not limited to:
– Efficient utilization of resources to maintain and sustain the level of growth in the state economy. This will be achieved through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) collaboration;
– Creation of the right business environment by reducing the cost of doing business in the State;
– Sustenance of peace and security in the State;
– Giving Commerce, Industry and entrepreneurship development greater attention. SMEs, especially in Aba, will be assisted to boost economic activities;
– Make the State an investment destination by providing the enabling environment to make Abia an investment-friendly State to attract direct local and foreign investments which will invariably create jobs;
– Reduce the level of State domestic debt profile;
– Tenaciously follow the new coded classifications in public expenditure management to enthrone transparency and accountability;
– Provide agro-inputs especially fertilizers at subsidized rate, seedlings, improved cassava stems as well as agro-chemicals; and partner with the Research Institute, Umudike.
– Additionally, ensure value addition to our agricultural produce to make agriculture more viable and attractive;
– Transform the road network to make transportation of produce easier;
– Develop our human capital, enhance value reorientation in our public service as well as empower our youth;
– Sustain the improvement already made in our public health institutions as well as the health care service delivery; and
– Partner with the private sector to create economic and educational opportunities.
2017 Budget Theme:
Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I present to this Honourable House of Assembly the 2017 Budget christened â€œBudget of Prudence and Self Relianceâ€. This theme reflects our policy direction; objective of the present Administration and is borne out of the need to balance our priorities against available resources and also apply ourselves to looking inwards to survive in the face of the distortions at the macroeconomic level of our economy. The necessary policy guidelines to remove impediments and ensure efficient implementation of the budget would be put in place. Further details of this budget will be made public by the Honourable Commissioner for Finance.
The 2017 Budget has an estimated outlay of N102,549,340,283. This shows 3.14% decrease over the 2016 outlay of N105,875,924,320. This is based on our plan to work with a realistic budget vis-a-vis the realities of expected revenue that everybody including the international community will not fault.
The Breakdown of the 2017 Budget is as follows:
We are not expecting an increase in the revenue accruing to the State. This is due to the realities of the continuous dwindling of the revenue accruing to the country from the major revenue earner of Nigeria as well as other macroeconomic indices in Nigeria. All these are not heart-warming as they have negatively affected the economic activities in the state and by extension the IGR. The estimated budget outlay is based on the expected revenue from the Federation Account and Value Added Tax (VAT) sources to be complemented by the projected cash inflow from Independent Revenues, Aids, Grants, Credits and other sources. We are going to reduce funding gaps from expected collaboration arrangements with the Private Partnerships and Donor agreements.
(i) Internal Sources:
The bleak economic situation notwithstanding, we intend to intensify our efforts to ensure our IGR is improved upon. The strategy of Direct Bank Lodgment of Electronic Collection System through the Banks to capture and confirm all payments made to the State is paying off and we are going to consolidate on that.
Meanwhile, some Agencies have been created and collection consultants engaged to ensure we maximize our revenue collection. Our revenue projection for the year 2017 from internal sources is N21,950,340,283.00 (Twenty-one Billion, Nine Hundred and Fifty Million, Three Hundred and Forty Thousand, Two Hundred and Eighty-three Naira) only.
(ii) External Sources:
Our projection is that N61,200,000,000 (Sixty-one Billion and Two Hundred Million Naira) only will accrue to the State from Statutory Allocations of the Federation Account.
(i) Recurrent Expenditure:
The 2017 Budget proposal for Recurrent Expenditure is N57,364,207,283 (Fifty-seven Billion, Three Hundred and Sixty Four Million, Two Hundred and Seven Thousand, Two Hundred and Eighty-three Naira) only as against N59,181,940,100 (Fifty-nine Billion, One Hundred and Eighty-one Million, Nine Hundred and Forty Thousand and One Hundred Naira) only for the previous year, which indicates a decrease of 3.07%. The details of the total recurrent expenditure reveal that the Personnel Cost amounts to N28,154,097,140 (Twenty-eight Billion, One Hundred and Fifty-four Million, Ninety-seven Thousand, One Hundred and Forty Naira) only.
While the Overhead Cost is N15,904,612,014.00 (Fifteen Billion, Nine Hundred and Four Million, Six Hundred and Twelve Thousand and fourteen Naira) only. Also the sum of N13,305,498,099.00 (Thirteen Billion, Three Hundred and Five Million, Four Hundred and Ninety-eight Thousand and Ninety-nine Naira) only is for Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges.
(ii) Capital Expenditure:
We have projected the sum of N45,185,133,000.00 (Forty-Five Billion, One Hundred and Eighty-five Million, One Hundred and Thirty-three Thousand Naira) only as Capital Expenditure in 2017. The summary of the Capital Expenditure is as follows:
Administration Sector -N 4,083,720,000
Economic Sector -N30,076,570,000
Law and Justice Sector-N376,600,000
Our government is responsible and committed towards ensuring the welfare of its citizens through deliberate and planned efforts in implementing our developmental objectives.
Government shall continue to embrace reforms and programmes that will make for efficiency in service delivery, adherence to the rule of law, due process and transparency as well as well being of our people by providing more socio-economic welfare programs for the citizenry in 2017.
I inherited an ongoing construction of a befitting Government House for the State. The work on this project will continue. However, owing to the economic realities of our time the work on this project will now be phased.
Monitoring is critical to ensure value for money. The machinery for monitoring and evaluation will be sustained and strengthened. Government will double its support for the State Planning Commission, the arm of Government responsible for monitoring and evaluation of on-going projects and new ones as well as the evaluation of the outcome of such projects and programmes.
We shall encourage human capital development through training and retraining of public servants in the State.
We shall support Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programmes through collaborative effort with Federal Government and other agencies for serving and about-to-retire staff to help them develop multiple sources of income.
This administration will continue to maintain Peace and Security to ensure a better investment environment. This will be through supporting the law enforcement agencies, to enable them perform efficiently and optimally. We will not relent in assisting these agencies to enhance their operational effectiveness for the good of all residents of Abia State.
The new Economic Agenda initiated would be sustained and strengthened in 2017. We are going to vigorously pursue the Education for Employment (E4E) programme which is aimed at encouraging Skills acquisition, entrepreneurship and economic empowerment of our youths. This programme, when fully realized, will no doubt reduce the level of unemployment in the state. It is noteworthy to mention here that the year 2017 will witness inflow of both Local and Foreign Investors in the State. We are going to ensure we enter into partnerships with veritable and viable investors to exploit our numerous natural endowments.
Agriculture: Agriculture is the predominant occupation of Abians, involving over 70% of the entire population. Unfortunately, it is still practised at subsistence level, with much drudgery due to low technology adoption. This results in low productivity, low income per capita, poor livelihood and consequently food insecurity for the farmers.
Government is poised to re-engineer the agricultural sector which is one of our five pillars. This will be by exploring conventional opportunities of improved technologies (biotechnology and genetic engineering) as well as value addition to attract higher revenue. These technologies would explore the use of improved farm implements, farming systems and inputs to ensure sustainable food production, increased income and better livelihood for the farmers in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
We have proposed projects in 2017 Budget that will employ improved farm input, farming systems, and post harvest processing technologies to increase food production, create jobs and ensure food security. Micro-credit to farmers in the State will be sustained. Government will continue to distribute high-yielding Cassava cutting, Maize seeds, Cocoa and Palm seedlings to farmers in the 17 Local Government Area (LGAs) of the State. The provision and sale of fertilizers at subsidized rate to enhance yield will remain critical to Government. To achieve the stated goals, Government is ready to partner with relevant bodies at the national and international levels as well as the private sector. Our targets will include but not restricted to:
– increase hecterages of cultivated land with the involvement of the ADP extension services under the Unified Agricultural Extension System and the National Programme for Food Security (NPFS) under the Unilateral Trust Fund (UTF) arrangement of the FAO of the United Nations.
– reduce waste and add value to farm produce through post harvest processing to attract high revenue;
– provide adequate drugs and biologics in veterinary clinics to ensure animal health and quality meat production; and
– attract private investors to the agricultural sector in the State.
The Ministry of Agriculture will be assisted to intensify mechanized agriculture scheme in the three agricultural zones of the State.
The Ministry will go into cassava stem multiplication, encourage other farmers in the areas of poultry and fishery. The State has concluded interviewing prospective private investors for the development of Oil Palm, Rubber, Rice, Cassava and Red Meat Value Chains. We believe that 2017 will see the materialization of these efforts. The projects and programmes articulated for this 2017 budget will revolutionize the Agricultural sector and reduce hunger and poverty.
Works and Transport:
Government will ensure the completion of on-going road projects in the State especially in the major urban cities of Aba and Umuahia and all other parts of Abia State.
In Aba, we want to recover the roads to boost commercial activities and this will help shore up our IGR. Government will also engage in aggressive infrastructural development in our rural communities to create access for the evacuation of farm produce to the urban centres. To this end, Government shall strengthen her Road Maintenance Agency to ensure that our roads are regularly maintained for ease of transportation of goods and services. This is in addition to our intention to provide a total of 170km link roads to major economic zones of the State.
We shall ensure effective and efficient management of the Transport Sector. The Ministry of Transport will intensify efforts in creating enabling environment for effective implementation of the State Transport Policy. This will make Public Private Partnership in this subsector more rewarding. The State Fire Service will be made more functional through procurement of more fire engines and equipment.
The various Water Schemes will witness greater attention, more so, through interventions and partnerships with development partners in urban and rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects. The â€œWater Must Flow Initiativeâ€, will be achieved in 2017.
Commerce and Industry:
This Sector, being one of the pillars and growth-drivers of the State economy under the present administration, will be positioned to inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship for accelerated economic growth and development. This will be done through increased access to micro credit and encourage the private sector initiatives to optimally participate in creation of wealth and reduction of poverty amongst Abians.
We shall also intensify effort to encourage both local and direct foreign investments in the State. We shall adopt policies that would promote the growth of indigenous entrepreneurs. The State, through the Ministries of Trade, Industry, Science and Technology will encourage establishment of cottage industries, Small and Medium Enterprises. The State has already created an agency (Abia State Small and Medium Enterprise Centre) – to help take care of the development needs of the SMEs. Efforts would be intensified to provide infrastructural facilities that are critical to industrial growth and development. The Ariaria International market will be expanded through partnership with the private sector.
Efforts would be put in place to ensure the facilities at the Ohiya-Umuogo-Nsukwe Industrial cluster (housing the Mechanics and Spare parts market) as well as the Ubani Ibeku market are effectively put to use and the excesses of market managements would be checked to ensure all revenues accruable to Government are realized.
Furthermore, the Electronics/Electrical market at Osisioma, the Ovom and Umukalika industrial workshop estate at Aba will be adequately attended to.
LAW AND JUSTICE:
The Judiciary will as always continue to have a free hand in discharging its functions. Government, in the 2017 fiscal year, will give assistance to the Judiciary to achieve speedy administration of justice.
Rule of Law means adherence to the supremacy of the Law, equality of all citizens before the Law and equal protection before the Law in a State. In 2017, therefore, we shall target to continue promoting peaceful and inclusive society for sustainable development by ensuring access to justice for and by all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. We shall upgrade and rehabilitate our courts in the various Judicial/Magisterial Divisions and Districts to ensure quick dispensation of justice. This will certainly help in strengthening law and order as well as the administration of Justice in the State..
Government is committed not just to providing high quality health care service for all but to make it effective, affordable and accessible with the right technology, infrastructure and manpower. It is our resolve also to ensure that our Teaching Hospital will be adequately equipped for the re-accreditation of the remaining departments of the College of Medicine in ABSUTH, Aba for Postgraduate and undergraduate studies. Our Schools of Nursing/Mid-wifery will be upgraded to produce the requisite manpower.
The efforts of our primary health care system will be sustained by equipping the health centres built in different parts of the State. The General Hospital at Amachara and the Specialist Hospitals and Diagnostic Centres would be equipped with qualified manpower to enable them function efficiently. This administration shall continue to collaborate with international donor agencies, private investors in health care and local government authorities in its bid to reduce morbidity and mortality rates due to communicable diseases in the State.
Furthermore, Abians will be encouraged to buy-in into taking Medical Insurance policies in order to reduce the burden of medical bills.
The present government is mindful of the importance of education in the areas of acquisition of relevant skills and competences for development of the individual and the society. Therefore in order to achieve functional education in the State, this administration would embark on policies and programmes to accomplish the following:
(i) Free and compulsory Universal Basic Education for all pupils in the State;
(ii) Sustenance of the free lunch programme in our primary schools;
(iii) Provision of conducive teaching and learning environment through the construction, renovation and rehabilitation of classroom blocks in State primary and secondary schools;
(iiii) Provision of teaching and learning aids;
(v) Training and retraining of teachers to ensure the quality of their products compares favourably with their contemporaries;
(vi) Private sector participation in education at all levels;
(vii) Entrepreneurship skills acquisition and Education for Employment (E4E); and
(viii) Ensure the tertiary institutions are adequately equipped to qualify for accreditation/reaccreditation to meet international standards.
Information and Culture:
Government appreciates the role played by the Government mass media in providing information, education and entertainment to the people of the State and bridging the communication gap between the Government and the people. The usefulness of proper information management strategy in achieving peaceful and stable society cannot be over emphasized. In order to helping to publicize and educate the people of the programmes and activities of government, the information management machinery will be further strengthened, capacities of staff built and more effective coordination of other MDAs involved in information management activities carried out. To this end, in 2017 fiscal year, government will support and strengthen public enlightenment activities with modern digital equipment. Government will revitalize and equip Abia State Printing Press with modern equipment to enable it to function more effectively and efficiently. The Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA) and Abia Newspapers and Publishing Corporation would be provided with modern equipment to operate efficiently.
Government is very much interested in the development of the tourism sector in order to attract foreign investors, hence the Azumiri Blue River, Long Juju site of Arochukwu and other historical sites would be given due attention. In 2017, government will collaborate with foreign partners to harness and reposition the tourism industry.
Sports: Sports and sporting activities have become major players in the socio-economic development of our country. These have provided veritable means of harnessing and developing the untapped talents in our teeming youth. This social sub-sector provides a platform for training, inculcation and acquisition of the right discipline, attitude and skills. Abia State is the only State that has 4 football clubs in the country (2 clubs playing in the national league, 1 playing in the local league and 1 female football club). In 2017, we will sustain the tempo of funding to these clubs, especially with regard to improving on the infrastructural facilities while surveying the possibility of entering into partnerships with the private sector to improve on their funding and performance.
Housing: Housing shall continue to rank high in the enablers. The uncompleted projects in 2016 will be rolled over to 2017. These include work on the:
– International Conference Centre;
– External works at Amuba Housing Estate;
– Construction at the Ultra-modern Government House;
– Provision of infrastructure at the Isieke Housing Estate;
– Remodeling of the old State Secretariat Complex;
– Construction of State Government Lodge and office complex;
– Construction of office complex for Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC);
Environment: Our Government is peopleâ€“oriented and sensitive to the devastation caused by erosion and is determined to improve the well-being and environment of the people.
Government, in the 2017 fiscal year, will continue to coordinate various actions on environmental protection and conservation of natural resources for sustainable development. We will continue to intensify effort in environmental protection and ensure the sustainability of proper waste management system and city beautification in urban and semi-urban areas. The government shall endeavour to secure a quality environment adequate for good health and well-being.
Sequel to this, the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) will be strengthened to achieve sustainability in the urban solid waste management system in the environment of our major cities of Aba and Umuahia.
While sourcing for partnerships (local and foreign) to convert our degradable waste to produce power and recycle the non-degradable components, government will intensify effort in sensitization, educating and creating public enlightenment on environmental awareness, while primary and secondary schools in particular will be the focus of the campaign.
Through these efforts the public will get the full understanding of essential linkages between environmental health and human development.
We shall make policies that would secure the ecosystem and ecological processes and preserve biodiversity. The ecological challenges, especially as presented by soil erosion, pose a big threat to our environment.
Government through NEWMAP programme (a partnership with the World Bank) will continue to address the challenges of gully erosion sites in2017. The people of the State will be adequately sensitized on the prevention and control of soil erosion and ecological threats.
Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members of the House of Assembly, the challenges facing us in the coming year require all of us to work together with tenacity of purpose for the economic development of our State. I hereby present before you the 2017 Appropriation Bill for your quick consideration and passage.
Once more, I thank you and indeed all Abians for your cooperation and understanding.
God bless Abia