ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. UDOM EMMANUEL, GOVERNOR, AKWA IBOM STATE, ON THE OCCASION OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE 2018 BUDGET PROPOSALS TO THE AKWA IBOM STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24th, 2017.
Mr. Speaker and the Honourable Members of this great House, I have come here today to perform this annual Constitutional responsibility that is expected of the man whom, God has given the mandate on behalf of the people to go to the hallowed Chambers of the Representatives of the people of that State, and submit to them his plans and programs for the next Fiscal Year.
At such occasions, he articulates and presents the mechanics of how he intends to navigate the ship of State to safe harbor and in the process, better the lot of the people and live up to the lofty demands of his oath of office. It is a ritual I enjoy because it is always a majestic moment to come to this Temple of Law and celebrate the dream of our fathers, the faith of our people in us and the hope of posterity for us all.
A majestic moment indeed, because this Assembly is blessed with men and women of boundless commitment to our dear State; a majestic moment because we have here Honourable men and women, ever willing to put their hands on deck to help us set our sails right and chart a prosperous course for our State.
Let me therefore, pay special tribute to the Right Honourable Speaker, Barrister Onofiok Luke, the leadership of the House and all the Honorable Members of this great Assembly. Your patriotism and faith in the Akwa Ibom Project is stenciled in the tablets of our history. You have always exhibited a great sense of responsibility, obligation, patriotism and good conscience in handling the business of legislation, and these have translated into the remarkable progress and unity we experience in our dear State. Akwa Ibom owes you a debt of gratitude.
In 30 years of the existence of our State, we can say that this Assembly is one of the finest we have ever had. We can also say that the last 18 years of democratic governance has been our best years as a State in terms of development, welfare programs, industrialization, positive governmental impact etc. All these would not have been possible without the cooperation and support of the Legislature. Akwa Ibom people say “thank you very much”.
I congratulate you, once again, on your last Silver Jubilee celebrations. Akwa Ibom people appreciate your genius in the joint celebration of that event with our brothers from Cross River State House of Assembly. Akwa Ibom State and Cross River State are bound together by history, ancestral links, tradition, culture and blood. I believe that you proved by that celebration that blood is thicker than politics.
Mr. Speaker, Honourable compatriots, permit me to address you with the frankness and candor that this occasion demands. Our national economy had been ailing and the hope of many had ebbed. But knowing full well that my people did not give us their mandate for us to reward them with excuses, we chose to weather the economic storm and rebuild, recover and reinvent our dear State. We have not allowed the storms of recession to interfere with our destiny. We have provided local solutions to national problems and local answers to national questions. We have managed to keep our State afloat in spite of the recession.
The good news is that we are hopeful of better days ahead. Though God had given us the testimony of Isaac, who sowed in famine and reaped a hundred fold, we look forward with hope for the recession to end. I pay tribute to God who has blessed us with peace and men of great patriotism in this Honourable House and in our State. I thank Him for providing leadership for this State and using me as His instrument of blessing in this time of great need.
Mr. Speaker, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, recall that in my 2017 Budget Speech to this August Assembly, I posited that despite the recession in our nation, we would erect lasting structures and institutions that would launch us on the path of enduring growth and prosperity. Our confidence was based on the Biblical prophecy that when men shall say there is a casting down; our testimony would be that there is a lifting up.
Today, we celebrate God’s faithfulness in the commissioning of the Metering Solutions Company, Toothpick and Pencil Factory, Syringe Manufacturing Factory, and the Coconut Plantation and Refinery - which is in the offing and several other projects that will soon come on stream.
We celebrate God because while other States in the Federation owe workers salaries, we pay our workers as and when due; we are consolidating and expanding our infrastructures, over 1202 kilometers of road have been constructed, commissioned or are at various and advanced stages of completion, we are improving our health care services- a case in point is the Etinan General Hospital that was renovated and equipped with the best possible amenities, which was recently commissioned by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) ; women and youth are empowered with tools for growth and development; our State was recently named by the National Bureau of Statistics as having attracted the most Foreign Direct Investment after Lagos and the Country Manager of the World Bank- Rachid Benmessaoud recently stated that Akwa Ibom State is the best place to do business. We are investing in education and in our efforts not to leave any child behind we have spent over 600 million naira to pay WAEC fees, we are recruiting the best teachers to teach our children. Indeed, the LORD has surpassed our imaginations and expectations and on His wings we are soaring.
The good people of Akwa Ibom deserve our appreciation for their cooperation and support. I urge them to keep having great faith in the Akwa Ibom Project. Let us all rise to the faith of greatness as enshrined in the Dakkada creed and make real the promise in the Bible “Arise, Shine…” (Dakkdda, Yamma). Akwa Abasi Ibom State will rise more and shine brighter in 2018. That is a promise, a promise we intend to keep.
Mr. Speaker, may I at this juncture, crave your kind indulgence to share with this Hallowed Chamber, the visions, policies, programmes and projects of my Administration and to present for your kind consideration and approval, the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure of Akwa Ibom State Government for the 2018 Fiscal Year in accordance with the provision of section 121(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mr. Speaker and our dear Honorable House Members, please bear in mind the cardinal objectives of my administration, as encapsulated in the Five-Point Agenda. These are: Job Creation, Poverty Alleviation, Wealth Creation, Economic and Political Inclusion, and Infrastructural Consolidation and Expansion to further transform the state into an industrialized entity. These are the five pillars of our leadership efforts.
REVIEW OF THE PREFORMANCE OF 2017 BUDGET
Mr. Speaker, and Honorable Members, permit me to start with a review of the 2017 Budget. A total of N371.292 billion was approved for 2017 fiscal year. Later in the year, a Supplementary Budget of N114.500 billion was approved thus bringing the total revised Budget of the State to N485.792 billion, made up as follows:
Recurrent Expenditure - N91.424 billion
Capital Expenditure - N313.498 billion
Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges - N80.870 billion
Total - N485.792 billion
As at September, 2017 the actual recurrent Revenue collected was N146.072 billion. This was 78% of the budgeted amount. A breakdown of Recurrent Revenue shows that
Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) - N10.425 billion
Statutory Allocation - N19.932 billion
Value Added Tax (VAT) - N7.895 billion
Derivation - N101.265 billion
Budget Support - N6.555 billion
Total - N146.072 billion
In re-appraising expenditure, a total of N78.803 billion was spent on the recurrent services which include:
Personnel Costs - N28.380 billion
Overhead Costs - N9.610 billion
Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges - N40.813 billion
Total - N78.803 billion
Operating within the framework of the revised approved Budget and the limits of available resources, we have been able to record remarkable achievements in our industrialization effort, consolidate already achieved gains of democratic governance and indeed, other areas in line with our campaign promises. These achievements include the construction and commissioning of Syringe Manufacturing Factory; Pencil and toothpick Factory; Metering Solutions Factory ; Resuscitation of Peacock Paint Industry; 153+ MW Ibom Power Plant and the commissioning of two Sub-Stations in Uyo and Ekim in Mkpat-Enin Local Government Areas respectively. These investments have helped improve the supply of electricity in our State. Uyo and its environs for instance, now enjoy close to 18-22 hours of uninterrupted electricity. In addition, the construction of Flour Mill, the coconut refinery and the Ibom Deep Seaport are on-going. Over 1,202km of roads and 17 bridges were constructed, commissioned or at various stages of completion; we are constructing over 45 internal roads in Uyo metropolis covering Shelter Afrique, Osongama and Ewet Housing Estates, several kilometers of internal roads have been commissioned or are ongoing in both Eket and Oron metropolis respectively; Eket-Ibeno Road- the main thoroughfare to our oil production facilities which was impassable upon my resumption of office has been completed and commissioned. Work has resumed on Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road, following the payment of compensation. The drainage at Nsikak Edouk, which was a major problem, has been constructed and commissioned, the Information Drive in Uyo had been completed and commissioned, and work is ongoing on the 35 kilometers Super Highway in Ibaka. The 2nd Runaway at the Ibom International Airport is at advanced stage of completion. A befitting Cathedral that will be the first of its kind upon completion is in the offing as well as the 21 Storey modern edifice situated at where the old Uyo Market is being constructed by Julius Berger. We have renovated and commissioned the State Secretariat Annex; 11,000 hectares of land had been engaged for coconut plantation; 1,600 hectares of cassava plantation in 15 LGAs acquired; rice production in Ini Local Government Area is ongoing; Cocoa Plantation is on course; 450 youths had been trained in cocoa processing; we now produce tomatoes and onions in commercial quantities, subsidized fertilizer oil palm and cocoa seedlings had been provided; free maize seedlings also had been provided; Akwa Prime Hatchery with a capacity to deliver 540,000 day old chick per month had been constructed; cattle ranch and vegetable green houses are on course, construction of over 400 Inter-Ministerial intervention projects covering classroom blocks in primary and secondary schools and SUBEB’S intervention in classroom blocks renovation of primary and junior secondary school blocks in conjunction with the Federal Government, improvement in electricity and the provision of transformers in the 31 LGAs; Free and Compulsory Basic Education in Public Schools is pursued with vigor, over N600 million WAEC Fees for indigent students in Public Secondary Schools had been paid, more than 7 Community Secondary Schools had been taken over by Government; the Army Command Secondary School, Efa, in Etinan will soon commence, as well as strategic interventions in Tertiary Institutions had been carried out; 57 School blocks were renovated; 5 new School buildings constructed, 60 modular schools were established; Free Text Books and Other Educational materials were procured and distributed; Free Medical Services rendered to children below 5 years, pregnant women and the aged also enjoy free medical services; Etinan General Hospital was renovated and commissioned by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo last May during our 30th Anniversary festivities. The Hospital has the most modern equipment which were all imported from abroad. Currently we have brought in 135 container-loads of medical equipment, of which 19 have been cleared already. The wards at the General Hospital in Ituk Mbang have also been renovated. Other Secondary Healthcare Facilities across the State were upgraded; we provided relief for over 4,000 mal-nourished children; we also carried out free screening and treatment of over 15,000 people with various eye diseases courtesy of my dear wife, Her Excellency Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel’s Pet Project-Family Empowerment and Youth Reorientation Programme (FEYReP); the first Akwa Ibom State Youth Sports Festival was held to a great success; Akwa United Won the maiden AITEO Cup and through our support, Nigeria was able to qualify for World Cup, Russia 2018 with a game left; over 4,000 Youths were trained in various skills acquisition, construction of modern sports centres across the 10 Federal Constituencies, N2billion Interest Free Loan for Small Scale entrepreneurs and traders was given. Besides these Capital Projects expenses, my Administration also kept faith in meeting recurrent services: prompt payment of salaries and allowances to Public Servants; payment of gratuities and pensions to retired civil servants; cleared the backlog of a 10- year pension and conducted promotions. Also, of great benefit to our people and this Administration is the signature Pet Project programme of my dear wife our First Lady; Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel- The Family Empowerment and Youth Re-orientation Programme (FEYReP). Through FEYReP, many lives have been touched and widows especially have had houses built and donated to them. Our State remains one of the safest in the nation, due to the huge support and collaborations we have enjoyed with the security agencies.
We have worked hard to utilize whatever monies we have received to impact the lives of the people and create enduring infrastructural amenities, and these elements were key points in our Five-Point Agenda campaign platform.
Our Capital Budget Expenditure is described in details in the Budget Implementation Report, which has been prepared to facilitate your consideration of the Draft 2018 Budget.
THE 2018 BUDGET
Mr. Speaker and Honorable Members, the 2018 Budget is prepared in accordance with International Public Sector Accounting Standard (IPSAS) – Accrual Template. In 2014, Akwa Ibom State migrated from the traditional or classical method of budget preparation (which is characterized by lack of adequate, accurate and comprehensive disclosure of information on the financial transactions of Government and laden with peculiarities denying uniformity, accountability and transparency) to a more globally-acclaimed method of budget preparation called International Public Sector Accounting Standard (IPSAS). This system promotes uniformity, accountability, transparency and full disclosure of information on financial transactions. This method unifies the budget preparation of Federal, States, Local Government Councils and countries together to give a global picture of analyses and evaluations of government financial transactions.
For the past four years, the budget of the Akwa Ibom State Government had been structured on IPSAS- Cash Template which classifies transactions into Revenue and Expenditure only. The 2018 budget is prepared in accordance with the principles of IPSAS-Accrual Template, which classifies transactions into Revenue, Expenditure, as well as Assets and Liabilities, thus, making IPSAS Template adoption in budget preparation by the state complete.
Mr. Speaker and Honorable Members, we have christened the 2018 Budget as the Budget of Consolidation on Industrialization. The 2017 Budget of Consolidation was so named as it was our desire to make our people happy, prosperous and healthy through the improvement, sustenance and continuity of the already actualized and on-going socio-economic programmes in Health, Education, Good Roads, Electricity, Water Supply, Agriculture, Information Technology, Capacity Building, Infrastructure, Housing, Commerce and Industry, General Administration, Political Posterity and Security, Legislature and Judiciary with Industrialization in focus. A lot had been put in place in term of infrastructures already, but we still have much to be done. Our belief and conviction is that through industrialization, the fortunes of people would be greatly improved and employment opportunities will abound for our people thus, lifting up their standard of living.
We had already started the first phase of industrialization of our State economy through the construction and the commissioning of some of the industries already mentioned. In this next phase, we intend to do more in building additional industries and attracting more Foreign Direct Investments while ensuring the consolidation and sustenance of our infrastructures
POLICY THRUST AND OBJECTIVES
The policy framework of 2018 Budget is predicated on the following underlining principles:
1. The developmental objectives and catalysts outlined in the State Medium Term Plan Document would be strictly adhered to in pursuing the Dakkada transformation agenda.
2. The actualization of the economic power base of the State through industrialization and sustainable public-private sector initiatives that will open up opportunities for growth and improved living standard.
3. The creation and maintenance of a conducive and enabling environment where the tenets of democratic governance shall thrive and dividends of democracy dispensed for the betterment of all.
4. Ensuring the security of lives and property of the people at all times, while adhering to the principle of the rule of law, thereby ensuring equity, justice and fair play.
5. The promotion of unity and oneness across the State, as well as ensuring due respect for traditional institutions and elders of our society which is an essential ingredient for the achievement of a peaceful and prosperous estate.
6. The continuous development, mobilization and promotion of youth and women empowerment programmes via planned and well-articulated welfare packages and capacity building programmes.
7. Giving all Akwa Ibom persons (both within Nigeria and the Diaspora) a proud sense of belonging; building on good governance, economic advancement and due respect for the fundamental Human Rights of all.
8. Pursuance of the task of rural development and integration with zest and vigor with the view to bringing all the benefits and dividends of our democratic governance to every nook and cranny of the State, and provide basic amenities of life to all.
9. Ensuring accountability and transparency in government by fighting and tackling corruption in all facets of our Administration.
10. Promotion of trade, commerce, and tourism between Akwa Ibom State, our country and the rest of the world.
11. Fostering the development and maintenance of good working relationships with both the Legislative and Judiciary Arms of Government in the State as well as ensuring an effective local government administration for grassroots development, mobilization and empowerment.
12. The attraction of required federal projects to Akwa Ibom State, by developing and sustaining a harmonious and very cordial relationship with the Federal Government.
We shall adopt the following measures and strategies to achieve the above objectives:
i. Build a strong fiscal regime through the expansion of our revenue base and the elimination of wastages and leakages in our expenditure profile;
ii. Build on the current foundation so far laid and consolidate on the gains of a world class infrastructural development by employing effective public private partnership synergy;
iii. Increase the viability of Akwa Ibom Maritime, air space, airport facilities and expansion of our road infrastructure;
iv. Re-invigorate Agriculture and Agro-allied industries by making the sector attractive and responsive to national requirements. To make government subsidies reach end-users and generate output to ensure a sustainable food supply for consumption as well as provide raw materials;
v. Sustain women and youth empowerment through capacity building and elimination of gender discrimination practices against women and enforcing the Child’s Right Law;
vi. Develop the tourism potentials in the State in order to expand our revenue base and enhance employment opportunities;
vii. Build an efficient security network around the State that is proactive to minimize crime and make the State more peaceful thereby encourage and attract investments.
viii. Make the Public Service more efficient and effective to meet the challenges of good governance.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2018 BUDGET
The 2018 Budget is predicated on oil benchmark of $45 per barrel at a production rate of N2.3million barrels per day with an estimated exchange rate ofN305/US$, in line with the National Budget benchmark projections.
Government has proposed a total budgetary outlay of N651.500 billion for the 2018 financial year as against the approved revised provision of N485.792 billion of 2017.
This is made up of:
Recurrent Expenditure - N92.697 billion
Capital Expenditure - N437.674 billion
Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges - N120.859 billion
Total - N651.500 billion
The total projected Recurrent Revenue for 2018 is estimated at N289.000 billion as against the approved revised provision of N188.500 billion for 2017. The breakdown is as follows:
Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) - N35.496 billion
Statutory Allocation - N25.000 billion
Derivation Fund - N200.800 billion
Retained Revenue from Parastatals - N2.504 billion
Value Added Tax (VAT) - N12.000 billion
Budget Support - N13.200 billion
Total - N289.000 billion
For the 2018 Fiscal Year, Recurrent Expenditure is proposed at N213.826 billion, made up of:
Personnel Costs - N53.138 billion
Overhead Costs - N 39.829 billion
Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges - N120.859 billion
(including pensions, gratuities and public debts.)
Total - N213.826 billion
The total Capital Receipts and Expenditure for the year 2018 is estimated at N437.674 billion as against the approved revised provision of N313.498 billion for 2017. A total projected capital receipts shows that N75.174 billion will be transferred from the consolidated revenue fund while the balance of N362.500 billion is to be realized as follows:
Opening Balance from 2017 account - N10.000 billion
Internal/External Loans - N105.000 billion
Grants - N120.000 billion
Ecological Funds - N26.500 billion
Re-imbursement from Federal
Government on Road and other Infrastructure - N65.000 billion
Investment Income - N1.000 billion
Refunds from Excess Loan Deduction and
other Exceptional Income - N35.000 billion
The sectoral allocation of the total estimated Capital Expenditure outlay of N437.674 billion for the year 2018 is presented as follows:
S/NO.SECTOR ALLOCATION N(BILLION) PERCENTAGE OF ALLOCATION
1. Administration 48.342 11.0
2. Economic 355.851 81.3
3. Law and Justice 3.813 0.9
4. Regional 1.529 0.4
5. Social 28.139 6.4
Total 437.674 100.0
Analysis of sectoral allocation above shows that priority is given to projects and programmes under the Economic sector.
For an efficient and effective Public/Civil Service, Government will keep training and retraining its workforce, and undertake specialized recruitment to fill essential vacancies and digitization of most government offices to boost the administrative sector. To this end, Government will intensify efforts in internal generation of revenue and tax administration. Administration has been allotted N48.342 billion in the 2018 budget.
This vital and crucial sector will generate revenue to government through effective planning and managing same in order to achieve sustainable socio-economic growth and development vis-à-vis capital projects.
The sum of N355.851 billion has been estimated to boost this sector.
LAW AND JUSTICE SECTOR
Government will continue to maintain peace, law and order, and justice with utmost sense of responsibility. Every applicable law will be used to dispense justice to (and enforce the constitutional right of) both Government and the governed. Public enlightenment on the different law issues as they affect the citizenry will be embarked upon. A total of N3.813 billion has been budgeted for law and justice.
Government is determined to turn the fortunes of rural dwellers around by focusing on rapid transformation to give them a new lease of life. Rural electrification; rehabilitation and maintenance of rural farm and feeder roads; tarring of slippery hills; provision of mini water schemes, renovating community schools and many community empowerment and poverty alleviation programmes have been on course and this Administration will do its best to ensure that more of such services are executed and sustained. This sector will gulp the sum of N1.529 billion for the actualization of these projects.
The social fabric of our society needs much attention in terms of education, information, sports, health care, women and youth empowerment, and traditional institutions. Also our environment needs aesthetic touches for beautification. My Administration will do all it can to give the social life of our state a meaningful and befitting status. To this end, the sum of N28.139 billion has been estimated for socials.
GENERAL CHARTER OF THE 2018 BUDGET
The belief which drives our vision is anchored on the fact that Akwa Ibom State can and must be a better place for all Akwa Ibom people born and unborn. This article of faith inspired our commitment to the Akwa Ibom Project and desire to leave it better than we met it by providing it with an effective and efficient administration anchored on people-oriented goals.
Mr. Speaker and Honorable Members, my administration preaches Industrialization, consolidation and continuity. Consequently, we intend to make the welfare of the Akwa Ibom person the centerpiece of all our developmental efforts and actions as a Government. We will pursue sustainability in all facets of our endeavour.
Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members, paramount in the heart of this Administration is industrialization of the State. This particular ambition accounts for our general policy direction within this short period of our Administration; we have committed ourselves to completing all viable uncompleted projects and reviving ailing viable industries. Our objectives and efforts may sound radical, but that is so, because we approach issues outside of the box of conventional wisdom. I always say, when the passion is right nothing shall be impossible. Industrialization will create employment opportunities for our teeming youths and lift people from dependency to self-sustenance. Akwa Ibom State was created by God out of greatness, therefore, Akwa Ibom State and our children must remain great.
Education remains the most important catalyst for rapid socio-economic development of any nation. It is a pivot on which every human capital development revolves. My Administration is committed to harnessing the available human and material resources to continue in repositioning educational sector for the delivery of qualitative, affordable, accessible and functional education to our people. Government will continue to promote effective teaching and learning in our schools by providing conducive and enabling environment for the sustenance of the ongoing free and compulsory education through the provision and refurbishing of the existing facilities, provide instructional materials, textbooks, academic documents, laboratory equipment and fittings, chemicals and reagents for qualitative and effective practical and research in our schools, establishment of Educational Research and Development Centre for scientific research and development, and fabrication of the required science and laboratory equipment for use in our schools, securing full accreditation of academic programmes, ensuring effective and efficient capacity building, recruitment of teachers, payment of bursary and scholarship to our students, ensuring effective and regular monitoring and supervision of academic activities in all our schools in the state. To realize these objectives in our education, the 2018 Budget earmarks the sum of N10.526 billion.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
In positioning the state to compete favourably with her counterparts in Science and Technology anywhere in the world, the State Government will continue to bolster her efforts in making our economy science-and Technology-driven through the following programmes and projects: Establishment of Research and Development Laboratory, Technology Workshop, Provision of Human resources in science, engineering and technology, Promotion of ICT programmes and activities, establishment of Save City Project which aims at assisting crime detection in the State, E-governance which aims at moving Government from manual to electronic level, and E-Library project maintenance and updating of its faculties and equipment for continuous functioning of the library.
To meet these needs, 2018 Budget proposed the sum of N1.950 billion.
Agriculture plays a critical role in the Socio-economic and industrial development of Nations and States. My administration places high premium on the growth and development of this sector to enhance food security, commercial production of agricultural produce and raw materials for industrial use and exports, job and wealth creation as well as improved revenue generation to the Government. The following programmes and projects will be pursued in 2018 fiscal year for continuity and sustainability in Agricultural Sector; IBOM SAN CARLOS Farms Project, Coconut Plantation and Refinery, Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP), IBOM SAN CARLOS Integrated Farms Limited, Agro-Meteorological Project, Commercial Cattle Development Project, Cocoyam and Avocado Pear Production, Bamboo Development Programme, Vegetable and Cocoa Green House Project, Raffia Palm Development, Integrated Farmers Scheme (IFS), Cassava Development Programme, Maize Development Programme, Rice Rehabilitation Project, Agro-Chemicals Supply, Women Agro-Entrepreneurship Development Programme (WAEDEP), Special Tree Crops Production and Maintenance Scheme, FADAMA III +, Agric Credit Projects, Fish Farm Estate, Veterinary Public Health, Fertile Egg Development Project, Piggery Development Project, Livestock Investigation and Breeding, Food and Nutrition Mitigation Strategic Programme, Aqua Culture and other programmes of the ministry to pursue vigorously sustainable development and food sufficiency in the State. To realize this aspiration, the sum of N17.913 billion is earmarked in 2018 Budget.
LAND, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
Housing is universally accepted as the second most important human need after food. Therefore, the provision of accessible and affordable housing shall remain the focal objective of the State Government. In pursuance of the above objective, the State Government, in 2018, intends to play host to top class housing development experts and international business executives constructing commercial housing or demanding decent residential accommodation. Hence, we will intervene by partnering to provide low and very low density houses and estates through public-private-partnership (PPP) arrangement, the 21 – Storey Office Building at the former Uyo Main Market is on course, a befitting Worship Centre to accommodate 10,000 worshipers shall be constructed in Uyo to promote unity in worship and provide a more convenient place for worship and other spiritual activities, the relocation of the Federal Prison and the Police Station all located at Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo to Iba Oku and Ikono respectively (all in Uyo) is on course, It is believe when completed, they will serve as reformation centres with State-of-the-art facilities for skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development. This project by the State Government stands to promote corporate relationship and save the offices from submersion by the threatening gully erosion menace, for the parliamentarians to have a good working relationship, the need for them to be located in an estate is unavoidable. This year’s Budget makes provision for ground breaking events for the estate. Government shall also play a vital role in routine maintenance of Government buildings and offices to avoid decay, the Judiciary Guest House presently located at the neck of the entrance to the Government House Complex shall be relocated, other ongoing project of the Ministry, namely, Ibom International Airport, Ibom Tropicana and Entertainment Centre, maintenance of Godswill Akpabio’s International Stadium Complex and the 4 – Point by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene shall receive various levels of attention for completion.
To achieve these noble objectives, the sum of N54.631 billion is earmarked in 2018 budget.
In 2017, Government planed and determined to add more values to the life of the rural dwellers through the provision of basic and economic infrastructures. Government had kept faith in this promise through the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of PHED electricity facilities along Ikot Ekporo Village, Ikot Abai Village, Ekpuk Village and part of Nyaodiong Village in Mkpat Enin LGA, Provision of 300 KVA sub-station to supply electricity for effective water supply to adjoining offices at Wellington Bassey Barracks-Ibaqwa, Abak LGA, Boosting Water supply in Uyo Metropolis, Idu-Uruan in Uran LGA. My Administration is committed to doing more to our villages and communities to make their lives better. In 2018, Government is poised to open up more rural communities through the provision of basic social and economic infrastructures; rural electrification, tarring of roads, mini-water schemes. The sum of N1.530 billion has been estimated for these projects.
One major commitment of my administration has remained that of safeguarding the environment for the healthy living of our people. My Administration had carried out emergency interventions in gully erosion sites along Calabar-Itu Road at Enen Atai, Itu LGA, School of Nursing, Anua, Uyo through Direct Laobur, maintenance and operation of Street Lights in Uyo, Abak, Ikot Ekpene and Oron Metropolis; construction of Uyo outfall drain phase II to de-flood Ewet Housing Estate, part of Osongama, Edet Akpan Avenue, ensured monthly State sanitation exercise and waste disposal in the metropolis to keep our environment clean and free from diseases. Government will continue to pay great attention to the cleanness of our environment, always put in place measures to check flooding, ensure collection and evacuation of wastes in Uyo metropolis, landscaping, mapping of Uyo, maintaining the aesthetics beauty and lighting of our streets. The sum of N2.795 billion has been allocated for this sector.
INVESTMENT, COMMERCE & INDUSTRY
The Industrialization policy of this administration had been translated into visible job and wealth creation facilities thus, improving the living standard of our people as promised. The following developments were achieved in this direction, the establishment and inauguration of Toothpick and Pencil making industry, Syringe Manufacturing factory and Metering Solutions factory, resuscitation of Peacock Paint, Investment in Coconut Plantation, Training of our Youth in Roofing Sheets and Ceiling Manufacturing, assisted and developed SMEs through training for skill acquisition, Procurement of Produce Inspection and Grading Tools for effective assessment and setting up of Business Support Centre in Uyo in Collaboration with SMEDAN to provide Service to Akwa Ibom business community, acquisition of CFC/UNIDO/FGN assisted Palm Oil Processing Mill and Nut Cracker, attraction of Foreign Direct Investment and effective Promotion of Public Private Partnership (PPP)
We are still on course in this quest, therefore, the following programmes and projects have been outlined in the 2018 Budget for execution: Industrial Promotion Programme, Industrial Estate/Park Development Programme, Industrial Cluster/Enterprises Village Development, Development of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, Oil and Gas Industrial Processing and Free Trade Zone, Akwa Ibom Entrepreneurship Development Resource Centre/Programme, Ibom Enterprises Development Scheme, Privatization of Ailing Industries, Akwa Ibom State/UNIDO Programme, ISO Standardized Industrial Programme of Akwa Ibom State, Trade Fair Programmes, Construction and maintenance of Trade Offices, Export Trade Promotion, Facilities for Registration of Business Premises (Revenue Generation), Construction of Regional Markets Programme, Renovation/Construction of Rural Produce Offices/Contribution of Produce Quality Laboratories, Anti-Diversion Programme for Revenue Generation Data Collection, Pest Control Programme on Graded Produce, Cocoa Business Development, Staff Capacity Building Programme. These will require N6.800 billion of the budget
CULTURE AND TOURISM
Tourism is one of the greatest revenue earners in the world today. Therefore, in order to boost tourism and for increase revenue generation in this sub-sector, Government will undertake the following projects; the Cross/Pilgrims Park, Expansion work at Le Meridian Ibom 5-Star Hotel and Golf Resort, Completion of a multi-million Naira Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre with Cineplex, Galleria, Malls, Dry and Wet Park, Hotels and Convention Centre, sponsorship of the State Arts and Culture Troupe to arts and culture festivals in foreign countries, sponsorship of a Children’s Culture Troupe, development of Ibom Unity Park in Uyo, provision of enabling environment for private ownership of over 50 standard hotels in Uyo, the State Capital. We intend to spend N14.604 billion on this for continuous achievements.
In health sector, the following achievements had been recorded, these include the reconstruction and equipping of Etinan General Hospital, with the most modern equipment all imported abroad, refurbishment of wards at the General Hospital Ituk Mbang, renovation and furnishing of quarters for House Officers in Uyo and Oron, building of the Energy Operation Centre (EOC) in Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH), Ikot Ekpene, payment of Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) to medical dental practitioners in the state with effect from June 2015, Professional Development of doctors, as a mandatory requirement by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. This development is a pre-requisite for the annual renewal of license to practice, conducting a 21-day Free Eye Care Outreach in the state in collaboration with MTN foundation, screening of 15,350 people for various eye diseases, 1,150 eye surgeries performed while 2,000 eye glasses were distributed, floating a Mobile Ambulance Service in partnership with Nestle Nigeria Ltd. The service is targeted at pregnant women and children under five years of age, training of 48 House Officers in General Hospitals; Ikot Ekpene, Eket and Oron. The Health Institutions were given provisional accreditation, training of 272 registered nurses and midwives in the state under the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development Programme (MCPDP), Treatment of 4,038 moderately mal-nourished and severely mal-nourished children, awareness and sensitization campaigns for the control of Tuberculosis and Leprosy (TBL) and treatment, Intervention in the State cold store for maintenance capacity and 2nd Round national Immunization plus Days campaign, E-collection training: Saving One Million Lives Programme for women and children, Medical Education workshop for Medical Officers for Project Commission on Urgent Relief Equipment (Project CURE), National Council of Nursing and Midwifery Meeting, Inauguration and Training of Health Research Ethics Committee members, Training of Medical Technicians, National Council on Health Meeting, Maintenance and furnishing of House Officers Residential quarters for interns, Installation of Medical equipment and construction of Generator shade at Sexual Referral Centre, Serving and maintenance of Oxygen Plant, Treatment of two (2) persons that had spinal cord injury following the Reigners Church building collapse, Medical Emergency Transfer of Exco member for treatment abroad, Repatriation of the remains of US Expatriate to USA, Accreditation of Academic programmes in Training Institutions.
In 2018 the vision and policy thrust of Government is to reduce morbidity and mortality due to communicable diseases to the barest minimum, reverse the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases to meet global target on the elimination and eradication of diseases and significantly increase the life expectancy and quality of life of the people in Akwa Ibom State in consonance with sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in relation to the overall socio-economic and human development. These will be carried out within the framework of planned projects and Programmes such as; Maintenance of House Officers, Intern Optometrists and Pharmacists, Laboratory Scientists and Youth Corps members residential Building/Offices at Training Institutions, Fencing of Hospital and Training Schools, Development of Permanent Site for College of Health Technology, Etinan and College of Nursing, Ikot Ekpene, HIV/AIDS Control Programme in Akwa Ibom State, Free Health Care for children under 5 year pregnant women and the aged, Tuberculosis and Leprosy (TBL) Control Programme, Improvement in School Health Services/Control of Sickle cell Anemia, Health Management Information System (HMIS) Research and Data Bank, Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Malaria Control Programme, National Programme on Immunization (NPI), Prevention/Control and Eradication of Other Disease and meeting other Health Programmes. Etc. To meet these health needs for our people, the sum of N8.210 billion estimated in 2018 Budget.
ROAD, WORKS AND TRANSPORT
The importance and necessity of good roads and an efficient transportation system in the lives of the citizenry and the attraction of investors to the state cannot be over-stressed. To this end, my Administration has embarked on massive construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges, improvement and maintenance of standard urban electricity supply, installation and reactivation of street lights along major roads and streets as well as providing fire prevention and protection equipment. To date, 1202 kilometers of road and 17 bridges were constructed, commissioned or at various stages of completion. We are constructing over 45 internal roads in Uyo Metropolis covering Shelter Afrique, Osongama and Ewet Housing Estates, several kilometers of internal roads have been commissioned or are ongoing in both Eket and Oron Local Government Areas respectively. Eket-Ibeno Road which was impassable has been completed and commissioned. Work has resumed on Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road, following the payment of compensation and other legal issues. The drainage at Nsikak Eduok which was a major problem has been constructed and commissioned. The Information Drive in Uyo has been completed and commissioned and work is ongoing on the 35 kilometers Super highway in Ibaka. The sum of N211.423 billion is estimated in 2018 Budget.
INFORMATION, SPORT AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Information management and sensitization of the people on the policies and programmes of government is important. Government intends to build on the gains already made by continued provision of basic information and communication infrastructures to enable media professionals operate optimally.
Sporting activities will continue to receive a boost as the World Class Sport Centers were commissioned and delivered to the people. Government will continue to promote the development/protection of women, children, and the elderly and other socially disadvantaged persons through relevant agencies.
We will not relent on our efforts in promoting peaceful understanding and cooperation between the Government and the governed as well as political interest groups.
Government believes in a peaceful labour and industrial atmosphere in the State and so, will endeavor to keep the friendly relationship intact.
Cooperative activities and development will continue to be vigorously pursued to help our people undertake meaningful economic activities for their mutual benefits
Government also intends to carry out tax awareness/enlightenment programmes/campaigns in order to enhance higher productivity and increase the revenue base of the state.
It is also the desire of Government to ensure prompt settlement of inter and intra-state boundary/land dispute for peaceful co-existence of border communities and give attention to effective disasters management in the state
My Administration will use its legal agencies to provide effective legal services to the Government and people of Akwa Ibom State. Consequently there will be; prompt prosecution of criminal and civil matters, prompt and accurate drafting of relevant Bills (Memoranda of Understanding – MoUs) for the State Government and its MDAs and Potential Foreign Investors, provision of Revised Edition of the Laws of Akwa Ibom State, provision of Books for and furnishing of the Law Library, establishment of two Area Offices of Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (CADR) in Eket and Ikot Ekpene Senatorial Districts, construction and renovation of Judge’s and Magistrate’s Quarters where none existed, construction of a High Court Complex to accommodate High Courts, Magistrate Courts, Administrative Blocks, Health Centre and Recreational Grounds, construction of High Court Building and Customary Court of Appeal Complex across the State.
The enviable position we have occupied as a safe and peaceful State in the nation must be maintained at all cost. This, we see as the only way to attract the much-needed investors with the multiplier effect of employment and increasing wealth for our people. We will continue to support and work closely with the security agencies to maintain the peace and security of our people. Therefore, we will deliberately put in all efforts to tackle holistically any act of insecurity in the State. Government has achieved much in this area and will continue to do more.
THE PUBLIC AND CIVIL SERVICE
My Administration places high premium on the proficiency of the work force of the State. Therefore, Government will continue to ensure recognition for high productivity, payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities of workers in the public service as well as providing appropriate training and retraining in line with our policy of human capacity development thereby making the public service efficient and effective to meet the challenges of good governance.
THE EXECUTIVE, HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY AND JUDICIARY
I believe that unity among the three arms of Government is needed for sustainable development. We will continue to pursue these layers of unity, bearing in the mind, the constitutional boundaries of the principles of Separation of Power. It is evident in our success stories the harmonious relationship among these arms has deepened and we intend to keep it that way. My Administration will continue to work in close cooperation with the Legislative and Judiciary arms to deliver good governance to the good people of Akwa Ibom State. All the necessary support to enable them work effectively would be given by my Administration.
Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members, thank you very much for your attention. Let us pause and celebrate God’s goodness and mercies to us as a people and as a State. It is by His tender mercies that we have achieved