2017 Budget: Ojougboh’s Allegation is Spurious-Okowa

DELTA State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has described the allegation of a blank 2017 Budget by an All Progressive Congress (APC) member, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh as spurious.

Fielding questions from journalists shortly after presenting 2018 budget proposal to the Delta State House of Assembly, Governor Okowa noted that Dr. Ojogbo’s allegation is devoid of intellectual content.

Dr. Ojougboh had accused Governor Okowa’s administration of operating a blank 2017 budget but, reacting for the first time, Governor Okowa said, “in the first instance, I will not react to comments made by somebody who, though went to school, made very unintelligent comments.”

“You (Journalists) were here last year when the budget was presented, the budget was debated by the House, the press was also present when the budget was signed; I have been to the National Assembly and I believe that the Delta State House of Assembly is credible; we have followed all the processes just as we have started to follow the processes again this year, is it possible to have a blank budget?” he asked.

The Governor stated that he was not disturbed by such allegations, “what is the budget if it is blank? So some comments appear stupid and unintelligent, but, we are in a country where Some persons can say whatever they want because, there is freedom of speech but, it is only fair that people who went to school should be able to speak in a manner that reflects their intelligence because, when we speak unintelligibly, it is very unfair.”

He also disclosed that his administration has severally, assisted the local government councils to meet their financial obligations to their workers.

According to the Governor, “in the last two years, we have intervened with the excess of N5 billion because even in January 2016 when it appeared we were good with the allocation from FAAC, we gave N3.26 Billion to the local government councils.”

“We hope that with the improved resources, we will definitely start to look into ways to cushion the gap that they (local government councils) have because, there is an obvious gap that they have on a monthly basis and we hope to improve on what we are using to support them, though, it will take time for us to be able to clear some of those backlogs but, some of the local government councils are actually not owing because they have low number of primary school teachers,” he said, adding, “such local government councils like Burutu, Warri North have very few teachers and are not owing salaries; we are going to encourage those who are not owing so that they will continue to pay and we are going to look at ways to support those local governments that have a very high wage bill”.

Okowa Presents N298.078 Billion 2018 Budget

DELTA State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has presented a budget estimate of N298.078 Billion for the 2018 fiscal year to the State House of Assembly, assuring of his administration’s commitment to “build a State anchored on inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.”

Governor Okowa who was accompanied by top aides disclosed that the “amount comprises the sum of N147.5bn or 49.48 percent for recurrent expenditure, and N150.5 or 50.52 percent for capital expenditure.”

While presenting a review of the 2017 budget performance from January to September, Governor Okowa said the expenditure profile “shows that the total sum of N127.0 Billion was spent; out of which, the sum of N104.2 Billion was incurred on recurrent items, as against a proportionate approved budget of N118.5 Billion, representing a budget performance of 87.97 percent.”

“The 2018 budget proposal shows an increase of N3.62 Billion or 1.21 percent, compared to the 2017 approved budget of N294.4Billion,” the Governor said, adding that it was expected that the sum of N71.3 Billion would be generated internally (IGR), Statutory allocation including Mineral Revenue Derivable – N178.1 Billion, Value Added Tax – N10.7 Billion, other capital receipts – N37.8 Billion totalling N298.0878 Billion to finance the projected budget for 2018 fiscal year.

From the budget proposal, road infrastructure will gulp the greater chunk of the money as Governor Okowa asserted, “in line with our growth aspirations, the sum of N49.3 Billion is earmarked in the proposed 2018 budget to sustain the current momentum in road infrastructure, including drains,” followed by the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) which will take N28 Billion from the presented budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

Earlier, the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborovweri who presided at the plenary attended by the legislators and former Speakers of the legislature called for a motion to admit the Governor and his aides into the chamber.

The Deputy Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Friday Osanebi moved the vote of thanks and commended Governor Okowa for his steadfastness in budget execution, reiterating that the Governor presented the 2017 Appropriation Bill which passed through due process before it was signed into law and the Governor as a law-abiding citizen implemented the budget despite the economic situation of the country.

2018 BUDGET: Delta Earmarks N6.6 Billion For Health Sector …..Boosts Health Insurance With 1 billion Naira

TO ensure that Deltans have access to quality and affordable healthcare, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has said, his administration has earmarked the sum of 6.6 billion naira to consolidate the ongoing rehabilitation of the health facilities.

It has also set aside 1 billion naira to augment the contributory health insurance scheme.especially the Under-5 and Free Maternal Health Care Scheme.
The Governor made the disclosure while presenting a budget christened “Budget of Hope and Consolidation,” to the Delta State House of Assembly.

While stating that the sum of N6.6 Billion would be spent in the health sub-sector, the Governor reiterated, “our guiding philosophy for this sector is the establishment of a qualitative, affordable and accessible health care delivery system in the State; hence we are focusing on infrastructural development of our hospitals and primary health care centres, as well as the procurement of drugs and cutting-edge medical equipment in major healthcare facilities across the three Senatorial Districts.”

“The Free Maternal and the Free Under-Five Healthcare programmes that were initiated by the previous administration in 2007 and 2010 respectively, are still being implemented. In January 2017, the financing of these programmes was taken over by the Delta State Contributory Health Commission. As at July 2017, total enrolment of these categories of people in the scheme stood at 71,350 (under 5 – 44,445; maternal – 26,905). Registration of civil servants under the scheme has commenced and is currently in progress. Sustaining the Free Maternal and the Free Under-Five Healthcare programmes has been critical in ensuring that the maternal mortality ratio and under-five mortality in the State remain the lowest in the country,” he said.

Senator Okowa emphasised that, “in fulfillment of our pledge to deliver accessible, affordable and qualitative healthcare, the Delta State Contributory Health Commission was established in 2016; with just N7, 000 as premium, the health insurance scheme is already providing pre-paid health services to 112,169 registered enrollees; the scheme is currently functional in 63 secondary health care centres, while 97 primary healthcare facilities in the State have been designated to commence provision of services under the scheme.”

“The Delta State Health Insurance Scheme has kicked off and its cardinal objective is to give Deltans access to quality and affordable healthcare no matter their socio-economic status; the sum of N1.2 Billion is provided for the Commission’s activities during the 2018 fiscal year.”

He said, “we have infused vigour and vitality into the teaching hospital at Oghara with critical personnel changes and the overhauling of the MRI and CT scan facilities that are now functional. In addition, we have instituted Public-Private Partnership for some diagnostic services to ensure sustainability, and a grant of N142m was released to the institution to meet pressing needs. Infrastructural work at the Asaba Central Hospital has continued to receive priority attention from this administration and is now almost 70 per cent completed.”

On the issue of environment, Governor Okowa that his administration would respond adequately to environmental challenges facing the state, saying, “this administration has embarked on urban renewal in key towns and cities across the state which involves rehabilitation, reconstruction, and construction of new roads, clearing of drains, environmental sanitation, public water supply, and beautification in the form of leisure parks and gardens.”

“The sum of N2.2 billion is proposed for the Ministries of Environment and Urban Renewal in the proposed 2018 capital budget,” the Governor said, assuring, “we are committed to the rapid development of the Delta State Capital Territory in line with the Master Plan of the State Capital territory and we have observed that some parts of the state capital territory currently stand the risk of degenerating into urban slums because of the uncoordinated approach to housing development.”

He stated, “the population explosion being witnessed in Asaba is occasioned by influx of people from neighbouring states; with better town planning and visionary leadership, this growth in population can be turned into financial prosperity that benefits all; the sum of N3 Billion has been proposed for the activities of the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency in the 2018 fiscal year.”

Okowa Takes Road Projects To More Rural Communities

IN line with his administration’s commitment to providing road infrastructure, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has commissioned the Kwale/Ogume/Amai/Obiaruku Road in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State.

The Governor who was inspecting and commissioning projects executed by his administration, also, commissioned the Uduophori and Kabowei roads in Patani Local Government Area, also in Delta State.

Governor Okowa who commissioned the projects with the people of the areas coming out in their large numbers to appreciate the quality of work done on the projects assured the people of the commitment of his administration to delivering people-oriented projects.

At Kwale where he commissioned the Kwale/Ogume/Amai/Obiaruku Road, Governor Okowa commended the peaceful disposition of the people which ensured that projects were executed without hitches.

He assured the people of his administration’s commitment to deliver dividends of democracy while at Uduophori and Patani where he commissioned the Uduophori and Kabowei roads respectively in Patani Local Government Area of the State, Governor Okowa said, his administration will not relent in ensuring that the desire of the people are met in line with democratic tenets.

The Governor witnessed a unique scene on his way to Uduophori as the people of Uto-Ewu, Assa, Etefe, Omafuvwie and Edjekuo communities came out to thank him for what he is doing for Deltans and appealed to the Governor to extend such gesture to their communities.

Governor Okowa on the spot asked the Commissioner for Works to find out what it will take to construct the road, stating that his administration will continue to run an open-door policy accessible to the people and provide for the people as democracy dictates.

Spokesman of the communities, Mr. Jerry Opharomavuo had said they were aware of the developmental strides of the Governor in different parts of the state and appealed for the Construction of roads to their communities.

In a related development, Governor Okowa has assured the people of Utagba-Ogbe of the Construction of the Eke Market.

The Governor gave the assurance when he paid a courtesy visit on the Oduosa of Utagba-Ogbe, HRM Isaac Obi.

Governor Okowa who identified with the people, especially, traders for their displacement following plans by the local government council to construct a modern market that has not materialized over the years, stated that his administration will work towards constructing the market.

He also, disclosed that the people will soon have an uninterrupted power supply when an Independent Power Plant (IPP) is completed in Okpai, assuring that there will be step down of electricity in Okpai and Kwale respectively.

The Oduosa who spoke through Chief Dennis Ejechi, had commended the Governor for the numerous roads constructed in the area and appealed to the Governor to construct a bridge across the Ase Creek and also, construct the Eke Market which has been under construction for some years.

Governor Okowa also paid a courtesy visit to the Pere of Kabowei Kingdom.

Delta To Be Nigeria’s Technology Hub – Okowa

GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa has said Delta State will be the technology hub of Nigeria with the full take off of the technical colleges revamped by his administration.

Addressing members of National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) led by Engr. Husaini Muhammad who were in the state on accreditation exercise to the six (6)Technical Colleges, re-constructed and equipped by Governor Okowa’s administration, the Governor said technical education is very important to enhance Nigeria’s technological advancement.

The Governor met the accreditation team when he inspected facilities at the Utagba-Ogbe Technical College, Utagba-Ogbe, Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State.

“We are committed to taking technical education to the height it should be, technical education is very vital for our youths to be equipped for future challenges and fend for themselves,” he said.

He continued, “all over the world, it is about technology and it is our desire to make Delta the technological hub of the country.”

While decrying the low attention being paid to technical education in the country, Governor Okowa stated that technological advancement through skill acquisition will reposition the country to be economically buoyant.

He emphasized that his administration will continue to encourage technical education and skill acquisition and urged members of NBTE to notify him of any areas his administration needs to improve on.

Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Hon. Chiedu Ebie took Governor Okowa round the facilities in the College, and expressed confidence that the team from NBTE will accredit the technical colleges in the State because of the state-of-the-art facilities in them.