Written by Scholastica JOSEPH

Ortom presents N178.377bn 2018 budget

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has presented a budget estimate of N178, 377,811,608.00 to the Benue State House of Assembly.

Making the presentation, last Thursday, Ortom announced that the economic sector has the highest allocation of N87.5 billion followed by the social sector with N62 billion.

The governor stated that assumptions for the budget include improved revenue sharing, strengthening of Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, collection and blockage of leakages, financial management reforms as well as political and economic stability in 2018.

"The budget which is christened "Budget of Rural Transformation and Consolidation" is to be financed through Statutory Allocation from the Federation Account, Value Added Tax (VAT), Independent Revenue Investment, Excess Crude Oil, Budget Augmentation, Foreign Exchange Gains and Internally Generated Revenue.

"Although we were only able to realise 32.68% of the total approved revenue for 2017 as at September, 2017, we have proposed this figure for 2018 bearing in mind the compelling need to make adequate provisions for the productive sector of the economy and consolidate the on-going rural transformation agenda of the state government.”

He stated that the challenges of the budget include adequate revenue inflow, sustainable payment of wages to all legitimate workers and pensioners, payment of cost of running government, funding capital projects and contractual obligations as well as payment of debts.

The governor announced that a strategy committee on Revenue, Development Cooperation and Agriculture Value Chain will be set up at the beginning in 2018 to address policy issues regarding generation and remittance of revenue, agriculture value chain and development cooperation.

According to him, existing consultancy services for revenue generation will be reviewed to ensure more value for money.

Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Mr. Terkimbi Ikyange, commended the governor for the timely presentation of the budget proposal and promised that the lawmakers would give it accelerated hearing.

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