Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers on Monday in Port Harcourt presented the 2019 Appropriation Bill of N480.42 billion to the State House of Assembly for consideration.
Wike said that the estimate tagged “Budget for Economic Growth and Sustainable Development,” was made up of N323.29 billion (65 per cent) capital expenditure and N157.12 billion (35 per cent) recurrent expenditure.
The governor said that the sum was N57.70 billion less than the 2018 figure and added that N33 billion had been proposed for pensions and gratuities.
He said that the challenge about the plight of pensioners has lingered for too long and promised to tackle it in the coming year.
“Certainly, our senior citizens deserve better treatment than what they are presently getting,” he said.
He said that the budget would be funded from allocations from the Federal Account, Value Added Tax (VAT) and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
He said the estimate was premised on an oil price benchmark of 55 US dollars per barrel which was five dollars lower than the Federal Government’s benchmark.
The governor said it was also based on the assumption of an oil production rate of two million barrels per day and an inflation rate of 10.9 per cent.
Wike said that the 2019 budget prioritised human capital and infrastructure development, adding that it would continue to strengthen the state’s economy, create jobs and complete ongoing projects.
He said that a substantial part of the capital budget was allocated to the Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Employment Generation, Empowerment, Health, Sports Development, Women Affairs, Works, and Youth Development
He said: “It’s clear by these estimates that the 2019 budget is aimed at promoting economic growth, creating jobs, tackling unemployment, taking our people out of poverty and improving their living standards,”.
On the N30,000 new minimum wage, Wike said he would implement the new wage as soon as the federal government reviewed resource allocation formula for states.
Responding, the Speaker, Mr Ikunyi-awaji Ibani, commended the governor for presenting “a people-oriented” budget and promised speedy consideration and approval by the house. (NAN)