APC’s Criticism of Our Budget Laughable, Says Okowa

October 23, 2021
Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has said that the recent criticism of the state’s 2021 supplementary budget by the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was based on a position of ignorance, stressing that the leadership of the APC clearly lacks basic knowledge of issues relating to budget and budgeting.

Fielding questions, yesterday in Asaba, on allegations that his administration had approved a supplementary budget close to the presentation of the Delta State Budget for 2022 in order to siphon the money, Okowa said that such claims stemmed from either ignorance or deliberate lies prompted by evil motives on the part of APC leadership in the state.

Okowa said, “It is because they don’t understand the issue of budgeting. If they do, then they would know that this government has brought a lot of development in the state through various programmes for the people especially the youths and the unemployed.

“I expect that the leadership of the APC (in Delta State) should know that there is a lot of development and progress made under my administration, but they don’t want to accept that fact.

“I try not to criticise what they (APC) are doing at the federal level, I try not to do that. I’m concentrating on what I can do to impact the lives of the people of Delta State.

“They know that their lives have been impacted upon positively, but they don’t want to admit it because they have an evil mind.”

The governor also dismissed arguments in certain quarters that there was hardly anything that could be regarded as legacy or “star projects” so far executed by his administration, saying that all the projects were people-centred, adding that his government was more interested in how far the people were optimally impacted by the government as its policies were designed to improve the well-being of the people in the state generally.

He said that he could state with certitude that his administration has run numerous infrastructure and human capital development programmes, including entrepreneurial, educational and vocational schemes, that were not only benefiting Deltans today but would also benefit the people in years to come.

He stressed that a supplementary budget did not entail fresh financial allocations for projects but a fine-tuning of allocations for projects in order to ensure that projects delivered are paid for and those yet to be completed were given adequate attention.

“Most of the supplementary budget is not about additional funds. It is actually as a result of realignment of funds, to be able to take care of those projects that have progressed farther and those other projects that have slowed down because of one reason or another.

“Unfortunately, most of these people do not understand or they understand but they just want to tell lies to the people.

“You cannot just go into the treasury and pick up the funds. That is not possible. I wish that they could know better,” the governor said.

Meanwhile, Governor Okowa on Thursday presented the 2022 Appropriation Bill of approximately N469.5 billion to the Delta State House of Assembly in Aaaba presided over by the Speaker, Hon Sheriff Oborevwori.

The 2022 budget estimate, christened ‘Budget of Inclusive Growth and Accelerated Development’, was made up of Capital Expenditure of N284.14 billion and Recurrent Expenditure totalling N185.36 billion.

Capital expenditure projections accounted for 60.5 per cent of the budget while recurrent expenditure represents 39.5 per cent of the total expenditure estimates, the governor stated, noting that the allocations were aimed at completing all ongoing projects and new projects in critical areas of needs across the state.

Nevertheless, the 2022 Budget is N85.5 billion more than the N383.95 billion revised approved budget of 2020, the governor noted.

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