The president earlier this week presented a proposed budget of N8.6trillion to the National Assembly. The total revenue projection is put at N6.6 trillion while the non-oil revenue accounts for the larger chunk of the projected revenue. This has generated divergent opinions among financial experts who argue that the projections are unrealistic. However, going by the projections in the budget some states in the federation are in for a good time.
The North-East Intervention Fund
The North-East region has been devastated by the Boko-Haram Insurgents. This has led to total collapse of public-infrastructures like schools, Hospitals, Roads to mention a few. Hence, the need for the establishment of North-East Rehabilitation Program. This program seeks to rehabilitate and reconstruct the states mostly affected by the insurgency. These states are Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. In the proposed budget, the Federal Government has set aside N45billion for the reconstruction in these states. Also it is expected that some development partners have agreed to partner with the state governments to intervene in the humanitarian crisis in the North-East.
The Niger-Delta Region.
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The Oil-Rich Niger-Delta region has long been neglected in areas of human and infrastructural developments. The Former Administration of Late Musa Yar’adua established the Ministry of Niger-Delta with a view to fast-track the development that has been lacking in the region. However, this has yielded little or no improvements in the standard of living of the people in that region. The amnesty program of the Federal Government also seeks to empower youths in the region who have before now engage in activities such as blowing-up of Oil Installations. In the proposed budget government allocated N53.8billion for the Ministry of Niger-Delta. The allocation for the Niger Delta Ministry represents a 50 per cent increase when compared with the N34.20 billion that was allocated to it in last year’s budget. The Federal Government has also pledged to continue with the amnesty program.
Also the Niger-Delta Development Commission which is also an intervention agency for the Niger-Delta region will benefit immensely going by the projections in the budget. The agency got a projected allocation of N71.2billion, an 18 per cent increase in the allocation to the NDDC in the 2018 budget. For last year’s budget, the commission had N61 billion allocated to it. The president, in his speech, underscored the need for peace in the Niger Delta and said that the federal government has retained N65 billion in the 2018 budget for the Presidential Amnesty Programme in the region. The relative peace in the Niger Delta has helped Nigeria maintain its almost two million barrels daily oil production. On a rail line that would connect the Niger Delta with other parts of the country, President Buhari said, “We have also kick-started the abandoned Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail Line.
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“This project has been on for over 17 years. We had to take some drastic measures but I am pleased to announce that work is ongoing and we expect to commission this service by September 2018. This service will start with seven standard gauge coaches.”
The president also spoke on the Ogoni clean-up project. “We are working hard on the Ogoni Clean-up Project,” he said.
“During the year, we engaged eight international and local companies proposing different technologies for the mandate. To enable us select the best and most suitable technology for the remediation work, we asked each company to conduct Demonstration Clean-up Exercises in the four Local Government Areas of Ogoni Land.
“These demonstrations were recently concluded and the results are being studied by the Governing Council of the Ogoni Clean-up Project.
“Although the project will be funded by the International Oil Companies, we have made provisions in the 2018 Budget for the costs of oversight and governance, to ensure effective implementation,” Mr. Buhari said.
“We will complete all critical projects, including the East-West Road, which has a provision of about N17.32 billion in 2018,” President Buhari Said.
The Second Niger Bridge Project.
It is also expected that states in the south east will benefit from the construction of the Second Niger Bridge. This is expected to drive socio-economic activities in the highly industrialized region.Also the much anticipated Coastal Rail Project from Lagos-Calabar, which traverse Lagos-Shagamu-Ore-Benin City-Sapele-Warri-Yenogoa. “ With siding to Otuoke-Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo-calabar and branch line from Benin City Abudu-Onitsha will kick-off.
The south west region.
Lagos-Kano rail project will traverse Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan-Oshogbo-Ilorin-Jebba-Minna-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano, with branch line from Minna-Abuja and Abuja-Kaduna. However, loans from China Exim Bank will be used to fund the following three segments from the two major rail projects. “ Lagos-Ibadan, from Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan with extension to Apapa Port Complex with the segment two of Lagos-Kano.The Lagos-Ibadan expressway is already ongoing as the contractor has been mobilized to site with proceeds from the sukuk bond Offering.
Nairametrics is of the opinion that the proposed appropriation Act 2018 is just a document and what is most important is the quick passage by the National Assembly and implementation of the budget. Funds meant for Ministry, Department, Agency of Government must be released in order to translate into visible evidence. We also expect that Leaders in these regions will make judicious use of the funds to improve the lives of their people. Also, the citizen must also take active part in monitoring the disbursement and execution of these projects. Active Participation of the Citizens is expected to drive most of these projects.
Fikayo Owoeye writes for Nairametrics