Mr. Speaker,
Honuorable Members,
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

2. Again, it is my pleasure to present the 2019 Budget proposals to this Honourable Assembly. I thank Allah (SWT) for bringing us together to witness yet another event that deeply concerns the livelihood of all Nigerlites. I appreciate the trust that Nigerlites have demonstrated to our leadership in the last three years. Indeed we are aware of the people’s demands from us and we are doing our best in that respect. However, we are prepared to do more in order to improve the living standard of the people.
3. Therefore, before I proceed, Mr. Speaker, please permit me to pay special tribute to this Honourable House for sustaining the harmonious working relationship between the three arms of government in the State. I must reiterate here that the success or failure of one arm of Government have ripple effect on all others; hence the need for continued cooperation and understanding as we engage in vigorous healthy collaboration in setting agenda for the development of our dear State and its people. This would not only bring about peace and tranquility in the State, it would help in creating the enabling environment for the socio-economic and political development of our State using our shared vision with unlimited opportunities. Working together, we can realize our collective aspirations and consolidate the democratic gains.

4. Mr. Speaker, the 2019 Budget is a unique one, as it is an election year and the last in the first phase of our administration. It is our hope and prayers that the 2019 general elections will be conducted in an atmosphere of peace, tranquility and orderliness.

5. Mr. Speaker, before I proceed to present the 2019 Budget Proposals, please permit me to do a cursory appraisal of our modest achievements in the out-going fiscal year. This is to further demonstrate our commitment to accountability and openness to the people that gave us the mandate.

6. I wish to start with the agricultural sector. This is because from the inception, we deliberately told the people that we would aggressively take advantage of our vast arable land to derive maximum benefits by assisting our farmers through timely provision of inputs. So far, in the outgoing fiscal year, we procured and distributed 130 new tractors and accessories to encourage farmers embrace mechanized farming for food security. We procured and sold to farmers, 15,000 MT (300,000 bags) of fertilizers, trained over 100 youths in modern farming using Green House Technology and provided them all with takeoff grants to help sustain the process. Under the livestock health care programme, 1million cattle, 200,000 sheep and goats and 2,000 dogs were vaccinated. It is therefore gratifying to inform this Hounorable House that during the year under review we paid-up our counterpart funds in the agricultural sector such as Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme (ATASP-1), The Value Chain Development Programme (IFAD – VCDP), FADAMA III– Additional Financing and The Rural Access Mobility Project II (RAMP II). We appreciate the support and enormous contributions of our Development Partners towards the modernization of our agriculture sector; this has been critical to the modest achievements we have recorded in the transformation of our rural areas too.
7. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, closely linked to agriculture is the issue of Infrastructure, because we firmly believe that without adequate infrastructure, most efforts in other sectors will not make the needed impact. Therefore, we are making substantial investment in the energy sub-sector to support our socio-economic development targets of the state. So far, we have been able to undertake rural electrification projects and improved urban electrification requirements. During the 2018 fiscal year, we completed and energized the 33KVA line from Kampani Bobi through Kasuwan Garba – Wamba to Bangi in Mariga Local Government; we have done same on Bakondare – Edukuso, Kansanagi village and environs in Katcha/Gbako LGA all awaiting commissioning.

8. This is in addition to the procurement and several 500KVA transformers across the state. We have also re-aligned and replaced Poles from Nasko to Salka. Other achievements in this sub-sector include the supply and installation of Solar Powered Streetlight along Fadikpe-Gbeganu Road, electrification of the 3Arms Zone, replacement of Solar Powered accessories, supply and installation of 7.5 MVA power transformers in Kontagora and Mokwa, all ongoing.

9. In our efforts to resolve the perennial portable water supply across the state, we procured and installed Pumps, Panels, Electric Motors and Generator Sets to Chanchaga, Suleja, Bida and Kontagora Water works. Vital Accessories were installed for Chanchaga Water works and Dutsen Kura Booster Station. The work at Agaie/Katcha will be completed in the 2019 fiscal year.

10. Mr. Speaker, Honourable members, during the year under review; it is unfortunate that we experienced serious flooding along the banks of River Niger and its tributaries. In fact, 22 out of the 25 LGAs in the state were affected in the ravaging floods. Although interventions to support the victims are ongoing, the state has expended over N100M to provide relief materials and basic shelter requirements to the victims. I commend the Federal Government for its quick intervention in providing succor to the flood victims. In order to address the menace of erosion and flooding, the State has paid N300 Million counterpart contribution for the implementation of Niger State Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) and has received $2Million US Dollars from the World Bank. In furtherance of our protectionist policies of the environment, we reinvigorated the Green Guards to control the unprecedented felling of trees with the attendant scourge of charcoal production in the state. In view of the above, I call on this honourable house to review and enforce the law banning the felling of trees across the state. I also commend the Niger State Environmental Protection Agency NISEPA for sustaining the evacuation and disposal of waste in Minna, Kontagora, Suleja and Bida towns. This has kept the state on the clean slate of livable States in Nigeria. In our efforts of diversifying the economic base of the State, the government is collaborating with relevant stakeholders to ensure the actualization of oil and gas exploitation in the Bida basin.

11. During the year under review, we deliberately pursued our commitment to advance the education sector, being topmost in our priorities. At the basic education level, we paid-up the outstanding 2015 and 2016 counter-parts funds to the Universal Basic Education Commission. SUBEB has earmarked a number of schools for construction and rehabilitation, provision of instructional materials, furniture and capacity building for the teachers in the state. Also, we successfully completed the first segment of the Whole Schools Development Programme across the state. This is in addition to the procurement of science equipment to our schools. To enhance effective supervisory and inspection mechanisms in the schools, we have strengthened the ability and capacities of the principals and head teachers’ in our schools.

12. We also continue to support our tertiary institutions to enable them compete with their peers by making sure they meet accreditation requirements thereby giving credence and recognition to the certificates they give. We acknowledge the support of President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government in sustaining our tertiary institutions through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

13. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, our Administration continues to place emphasis on qualitative healthcare delivery system. In the out-going year, we were able to ensure the successful take off of the School of Nursing Sciences in Kontagora, completed the construction of the amenity ward and comprehensive renovation of the IBB Specialist Hospital to meet its status of a world-class referral center. The new Laboratory at General Hospital Minna has been fully equipped, while the construction of a new Administrative Block at School of Midwifery in Minna is in progress. To ensure quality manpower for our health facilities in the state, we made sure the accreditation of courses in School of Nursing Sciences in Bida, School of Midwifery Minna and Schools of Health Technology in Minna/Tungan Magajiya, which as I speak, are all completed. Efforts are ongoing to actualize the School of Medical Sciences at IBBU Lapai; this will no doubt facilitate the training of the much-needed medical personnel for the state healthcare system.

14. In the social sector during the year under review, we completed the new Minna Orphanage Home; disbursed funds for the Conditional Cash Transfer Programnme to over 15,000 beneficiaries towards improving their socio-economic status. We also keyed into the Federal Government School Feeding program in the state. The State is currently feeding 681,403 pupils in 3,124 public primary schools across the state.

15. Owing to this administration’s conviction in upholding the Independence of the Judiciary, we took deliberate and necessary steps in enhancing first, the welfare of the Judges. We also embarked on facelift of some court buildings to give them a respectable look and to provide conducive judicial environment. Similarly, Shariah Court buildings in Kontagora, Paiko, Agaie, Salka, Kuta and Gwada have all being overhauled.

16. In the administrative sector, we dare say that we have not owed salaries of our workers because we believe that we can only get the best out of them, if we give them their wages as at when due even in the face of daunting challenges. We approved 25% Salary increment for Officers on Grade level and the restoration of Leave Grant as from 2019. We are determined to continue to see to the welfare of our workers.

17. Work is on-going on the renovation of Government House, the Governor’s Main Lodge, Lagos Lodge and the Abuja Lodge. Work is also at advanced stage in Government Lodges in Minna and Kontagora. Work at the State Assembly Complex is in progress. We have completed the construction of Fire service Stations in Bida, Kontagora, Suleja Agaie, Lapai, Mokwa and distributed new Fire Fighting vehicles to all the stations.

18. Mr. Speaker, Honourable members and distinguished ladies and gentlemen, without mincing words, the 2019 budget estimate will focus mainly on the completion of all on-going projects that have direct bearing on the lives of Nigerlites in addition to some critical new ones. Accordingly, the 2019 Budget estimate is hereby christened Budget of Sustenance and Continuity with priority attention on completing on-going projects in the areas of infrastructure, education, water resources, agriculture and social development to stimulate economic growth through investment inflows.

19. Mr. Speaker Sir, the total anticipated revenue to the state in 2019 is N159, 529,728,377.00 which are higher than 2018 Appropriation by 5.43%. The revenue is to be derived from the following sources:
(a) Statutory Allocation – N61, 676,145,300.00
(b) Value Added Tax – N12, 024,221,257.00
(c) IGR – N15, 174,243,716.00
(d) Paris Club Refund – N12, 273,897,415.00
(e) Dividends from North-South power – N300, 000,000.00
(f) Refund from National Electricity Liability Co. (NELCO) – N3, 825,000,000.00
(g) Refund from Pension Fund Administrators N4, 000,000.00
(h) Capital Receipts – N50,256,220,689.00
Total = N159,529,728,377.00

20. Mr. Speaker, the total estimated recurrent expenditure for 2019 fiscal year stands at N63, 324,292,994.00 or 39.69%, while capital expenditure is N96, 205,435,383.00 or 60.31%
Recurrent Expenditure comprises of the following:
(a) Personnel Cost – N36, 086, 758,686.00 or 57.12
(b) Overhead Cost – N13, 980,267,154.00 or 21.90
(c) Consolidated Revenue -N13, 257,267,154.00 or 20.98
Fund charges
Total = N63, 324,292,994.00

21. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, as earlier stated, the total projected capital expenditure for the year 2019 is N89, 543,981,070 which has the following sectorial breakdown:
(a) Administrative Sector -N8, 7555,893,739.00 or 8.2%
(b) Economic -N56, 032,763,590.00 or 57.45%
(c) Law and Justice Sector -N1, 540,000,000.00 or 1.72%
(d) Social Sector – N29, 876,778,054.00 or 32.60%
Total = N96, 205,435,383.00

Highlights of the capital expenditure in the Agriculture and rural development sub-sectors

22. Given the fact that agriculture remains the main stay of our economy, we will therefore in 2019, intensify efforts to leverage on our agricultural potentials in the state by encouraging all aspect of agricultural activities. In this regard, 200 Hectares of land will be cleared under the Agricultural Youth Empowerment Programme to encourage our youths go into agribusiness. To sustain agricultural mechanization, large scale farming and food sufficiency in the state, outstanding payment of 130 units tractors acquired in 2018 will be completed in 2019 fiscal year. We also intend to increase production incentive to our small-scale farmers in the state.

23. The need to open-up rural areas cannot be over-emphasized. In 2019, efforts will be geared towards the construction of 408kms of rural roads across the state and the completion of on-going ones. This, the government believes will bring succor to our rural dwellers in terms of movement of goods and services. We intend to alleviate the problems of livestock farmers in the state by taking a bold step of rehabilitating and providing equipment in Bida, Lemu, Kuta, Kagara, Wushishi and Kontagora veterinary clinics. Similarly, steps will be taken to Gazette our grazing reserves, support vaccination campaigns and rehabilitation of Garun Gabas service center. The agricultural sector has a proposed allocation of N6.711Billion.

24. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, we understand that investment in industrial programmes is one of the positive steps towards the modernization of our economy. I will like to seize this opportunity to once again appeal to investors and industrialists to come to Niger State where they can receive active support with competitive incentives and partnership of the State in viable investments. Government has in this regard proposed the sum of N180 million under its capital investment programme for state equity participation in Joint Ventures and resuscitation of moribund small-scale enterprises, which will be actively encouraged.

25. The policy of the present Administration is to develop the Tourism Industry in partnership with interested corporate and private individuals. Government is indeed committed to the development of this numerous tourism sites in the state. The sum of N265 million is proposed for tourism development and cultural promotion for 2019 fiscal year. For us to improve the social life of our youths, government will re-activate and provide facilities to all the viewing centers across the state.

26. An efficient network of roads facilitates the movement of the people and goods both in the cities and in the rural areas. To this end, rehabilitation, construction and resealing of roads will continue to be undertaken during the year with vigor. The sum of N1.9BN has been provided for construction of township roads in Minna and another N1.2BN for the completion of on-going road projects in Kontagora, Agaie, Suleja, and internal access roads within IBBU Lapai.

27. In addition, funds will be provided for the rehabilitation and maintenance of state-owned roads and federal roads that pass through the state, with a proposed provision of N2.Billion Naira. However, Niger State Road Maintenance Agency (NIGROMA) will continue to support and carryout routine maintenance on our roads to keep them motorable at all times.

28. Government has resolved to ensure that electricity is extended to all nooks and crannies of the state. To this end, the sum of N1Billion Naira is proposed for the completion of various rural electrification projects across the three (3) senatorial zones of the state and provision of dedicated 33KVA line in Minna, Bida and Kontagora Water works and some communities. Also, the sum of N1Billion has been earmarked for the completion of on-going streetlight projects in Minna, Kontagora, and for procurement of its accessories.

29. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, the achievements recorded in the out-going year in water sub-sector will be sustained. I am happy to inform this Honourable House that Niger State is among the six (6) states that have been selected for the implementation of United States Assistance for International Development (USAID) on Effective Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services, which seeks to strengthen financial and technical viability of the State Water Board. The sum of N2.4bn is expected from this intervention which does not require counterpart fund. The sum of N3.752bn and N7.625bn have been proposed for the rehabilitation and the expansion of water schemes across the state.

30. Similarly, extension of pipelines in Minna and Bida will be carried out, while concerted efforts will be made to complete the Agaie/Katcha statewide water project during the financial year. Under the rural water scheme, the Biwater Schemes at Nassarawa-Kainji in Magama LGA and Takuti in Lapai Local Government Area will be rehabilitated. Additional 100 new boreholes will be drilled and 250 existing hand pump boreholes will be rehabilitated across the state. The State Rural Water and Sanitation Agency will in this regard be re-positioned with the provision of necessary tools to enable it discharge its responsibility.

31. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, in continuation of Government efforts towards ensuring the orderly development of our settlements, the state signed an MOU with the UN-Habitat in 2017. Arrangements have been concluded for the commencement of the project with the development of pilot SMART City projects in Minna and Suleja and the strengthening of the capacity of the MDAs in the development and management of cities. The sum of N190million is proposed for acquisition of land, to be developed into residential, commercial and industrial plots for allocation to the public. This effort will boost revenue generation and open-up areas for development. Other activities include the preparation of integrated development plans for Minna and Suleja. The sum of N460.080 Million has been proposed for this project.

32. Education will continue to receive the desired attention in 2019 with the on-going Whole School Approach Programme, it has a proposed sum of N840.516 Million. The completion of supplies of science equipment to 8 Schools will be undertaken. The sum of N2.273 Billion has been earmarked to pay the State outstanding contributions for 2017, 2018 and 2019 UBEC intervention. In a deliberate bid to address the problems of education at the foundation level, the State Government is to collaborate with the World Bank and Islamic Development Bank for the implementation of Best Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) and the Bilingual Education Programme. While BESDA Programmme will focus on capturing out-of-school children and literacy programme on Reading and Numeracy Activity (RANA) in Primary 1-3 in selected schools across the state, Bilingual Programme seeks to integrate the Almajir system of education with western education. In the same direction, our tertiary institutions will continue to receive the requisite attentions in terms of addressing their manpower needs, accreditation of courses and infrastructural development.

33. The rehabilitation/upgrading and renovation of health facilities across the state and procurement of drugs and medical equipment will be accorded more attention in the 2019 fiscal year. Desirous of increasing access to basic healthcare services, the State Government has established the Niger State Contributory Health Scheme, which will come on stream in 2019. This will go a long way in providing affordable medi-care to generality of the people. Other key areas of attention in the year 2019, will be support to immunization, nutrition, family planning and the monitoring and evaluation of health activities in the state. The health sector Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members has a proposed allocation of N11.037Billion

34. In view of Government’s commitment of making judiciary independent and bringing justice nearer to the people, the sum of N1.540Billion has been earmarked for the activities of the judicial sector in 2019. Key activities include the continuation of on-going rehabilitation of court buildings across the state, the completion of Sharia Court of Appeal Complex in Minna and the extension of the Judicial Service Commission Complex. The Government will also complete work on the review of obsolete fees, fines, charges etc. to reflect current realities in the country. The Law Reform Commission and other stakeholders are to ensure speedy completion of the exercise in earnest.

35. Mr. Speaker, an effective and efficient administrative structure is of paramount importance for implementation and co-ordination of government policies, programmes and activities to actualize the desired objective. In this regard, the administrative sector has a proposed allocation of N8.755 Billion for the following projects: renovation of Government House, re-activation of Kontagora, Bida and New Bussa Booster Stations, completion of Assembly Complex and implementation of SDGs interventions projects across the state.

36. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, the State Government has keyed into the Open Government Partnership (OGP), which is a demonstration of our commitment to openness, accountability and inclusion. Under the programme, government actors and Civil Society Organizations will be working together to track performance.

37. Mr. Speaker and distinguished members in the 2019 fiscal year we propose to spend 32.60% of the capital expenditure on the social sector. This is pursuant to our determination to improve quality of life, reduce poverty in the State and provide social security for our people. The Skills Acquisition Programme will receive prominence, as we have embarked on constructive youth engagement by providing employment opportunities for our unemployed youths especially in the agricultural sector. Similarly, deliberate efforts have been made to empower the women in the last three years, we shall continue in this direction with vigor to change the socio-economic status of women and other vulnerable groups in the state.

38. As a responsible government, we will continue to give due attention to the retirees and other statesmen. Despite the huge challenges inherited in the pension system, we have worked assiduously in the last three years to correct most of the anomalies and pay pensioners promptly. Government will continue to pay pensions, gratuity and other emoluments as at when due. To this end, the sum of N6Billion is proposed for pension matters in the 2019 budget estimate.

39. In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I appreciate every-one of you for your cooperation in the last three years and wish to solicit more in the times ahead. I wish to appeal to all Nigerlites, in view of the forthcoming general elections, to remain peaceful and proud citizens of the State and remember always that our destiny and survival lie in our hands. It is on this note, that I present the 2019 Budget of Sustenance and Continuity of N159, 529,728,377.00 with Recurrent Expenditure Estimates of N63,324,292,994.00 constituting 39.69% and Capital Expenditure Estimates of N96, 205,435,383.00 representing 60.31% of the total budget for your consideration and passage.

Thank you for listening and God bless Niger State.

Hassan Usman Author

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