By Onome Amuge
- Build sustainable workforce of the future
Governor Godwin Obaseki’s N164.7 billion Make Edo Great Again (MEGA) budget, the appropriation bill of which he signed into law last Wednesday after approval by the Edo State House of Assembly, will vigorously respond to the upheavals caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, while the government gears up to build a sustainable workforce of the future.
The governor, who signed the budget at the Exco Chambers in Government House, Benin City, explained that his administration prioritised recurrent expenditure in the budget following the economic challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic.
Affirming that the budget would address challenges in critical sectors of the economy, he said the 2021 budget is primed at strengthening the state’s healthcare system across board, sustaining gains in the education and social sectors, providing needed stimulus to drive food security, supporting the weak and vulnerable in the society and actively engaging the youths.
He noted that funds have been raised to ensure a successful implementation of the budget for the benefit of the people and the state.
Commenting on how the state acquired the funds, Obaseki explained that the State Assembly had earlier suggested that the state goes to the market to raise money and finance a part of the budget. He further disclosed that the state government successfully closed a N25 billion 5-year bond at a record price of nine per cent. The resources, he assured, will be available to commence the funding of the budget.
“We are working on improving tax collection to enable us to have all the resources needed to finance this appropriation act. We are cutting down on waste to grow Edo economy in the right direction,” he added.
Obaseki commended the leadership and members of the Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA) for the prompt attention given to the bill and its speedy passage.
Marcus Onobun, speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, while presenting the budget estimates noted that the Assembly deemed it fit to review the estimates upwards from the initial N153.4 billion.
Onobun also described the budget passage as being prompt and speedy to enable the governor to strengthen his strides towards developmental projects in the state and ensure that the people enjoy the dividends of his second-term democratic tenure.