Ikpeazu charges 2017 budget committee to look inwards

Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 30 August 2016 | 2,563 times

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Abia state requires a budget that would focus on sectors with potentials for boosting internally generated revenue of the state and impact positively on the life of the people, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has said.

Flagging off the 2017 Budget Defence at the Auditorium of the State Planning Commission in Umuahia, Ikpeazu charged the 2017 Budget Planning Committee to fashion out a realistic budget for which agriculture, trade and commerce would play major roles in its funding since revenue from the centre has assumed a downward slide.
Said the governor: “I want to draw your attention to the fact that we can only make our mark in the comity of states if we emphasise on those things where we have comparative advantage over other states.
“We cannot do without laying emphasis on agriculture. And in agriculture, we cannot pretend that it is possible to be jack of all trades, therefore, we are looking at crops where we have the capacity and capability and the natural endowments to do well, compared to some other states.
“That is why we are looking at oil palm, cassava, rice and cocoa. We are of the firm belief that if we lay emphasis on these crops, we will be in a position to attract value chain activities down the line that will enhance the income and sustenance of our everyday activities.
“The other thing that is new is what we call mechanisation of land preparation through the acquisition of tractors and pay loaders that can be deployed in many areas to make sure that we mechanise land preparations.
“Land preparation is a very, very important input in agriculture such that if we are able to mechanize land preparation, then we work like a state interested in making agriculture the mainstay of the economy.”
He also hinted that the state would make rural markets conducive by rehabilitating them and provide markets for perishable goods.
“We are also very confident that trade and commerce will continue to play an important role in what we are doing. Under the umbrella of trade and commerce, it is the desire of this government to begin a systematic rehabilitation of our rural markets for the benefit of the common women in our society.
“We cannot be talking about the markets in the big cities without looking in the direction of those markets where our women and mothers are making out a living.
“The conditions of some of their markets are so bad that it is impossible to do any form of business in this rainy season.
“We have also asked the Ministry of Public Utilities to make sure that solar-powered street lights are located around the vicinity of these markets even as we rehabilitate them,” the governor said.
He charged ministries to be conversant with the pillars of his administration to enable them to adopt a bottom-up approach in drawing up the 2017 budget
“If you look at that document (pillars) properly, you should be able to see what we expect you to capture and then what you should set for yourselves as targets and goals.
“And if that forms part of your thinking as the budget process progresses, we expect that the kind of budget you will present will be the one that will have direct bearing and relevance to the thinking and focus of this government,” he said.
According to him, the situation in Abia calls for prudence in the management of resources.
“The time and era of wastage and duplication that are unnecessary should recede to the background now. Going forward, I think all forms leakages should be plugged and people should be held responsible for their actions and inaction while in office,” Ikpeazu added.
He charged the state Planning Commission to remain robust and focused while playing its role.
Earlier in her address, the Permanent Secretary/Executive Director, Abia State Planning Commission, Mrs Adanma Ihuwa, pledged that the Budget Committee would carry out its assignment diligently.
“The unfolding macro-economic issues we face in Nigeria and other uncertainties have made it imperative that we prioritise our wants in terms of programmes and projects.
“Our committee will give more consideration to projects and programmes that will enhance more positive well-being of Abians as well as the means that will improve our internally generated revenue,” she said.
“It is important that we note that in allocating the resources, we will lay emphasis on the five pillars and their enablers,” she added.
The theme of the 2017 budget titled “Budget of Prudence and Self-reliance,” she explained, was chosen to reflect the policy direction and objectives of the present administration in the state.
Budget defence provides opportunity for ministries, departments and agencies to defend their budget estimates for the next fiscal year before the budget committee which has the task of compiling the final draft budget for the governor for presentation to the House of Assembly as an Appropriation bill.
•Photo shows Governor Ikpeazu.

Source: News Express

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