Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu is set to present the 2017 appropriation bill before members of the State House of Assembly, SaharaReporters has exclusively learnt.
Speaking to our correspondent on Monday, a source close to the governor revealed that Mr. Akeredolu has completed the finishing touches to the 2017 budget and is prepared to present it to the state lawmakers on Tuesday.
“I can confirm to you that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu is now ready to present the 2017 budget before lawmakers of the House of Assembly and the presentation is likely to be low-key and devoid of all razzmatazz,” the source disclosed.
“The governor is a lawyer and he knows that the budget must be presented before the Assembly for approval because that is where all money being spent by the government must be enlisted on projects.
“As of now, I can’t reveal the exact figure that the budget might likely gulp, but I am sure it will capture all areas of government expenditure, including capital, but we also have to understand that the economy is dwindling.
“Mostly, the federal allocation coming into the state was put into consideration while sorting the budget and the internally generated revenue (IGR) was also a source of concern to the government.
“So, the IGR has to be increased if we must meet up with our promises to the people of Ondo State, especially on the payment of workers’ salaries, and don’t forget that there is already a financial burden – debt servicing,” the source said.
Another source close to the state government confirmed to SaharaReporters that the 2017 budget is ready for presentation.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent that the content of the budget is likely a replica of what former Governor Olusegun Mimiko had wanted to present before the Assembly in February.
“Yes, it is true – the budget is ready for presentation, but don’t forget that the immediate past Governor Olusegun Mimiko had wanted to present the same 2017 budget before the Assembly but he was prevented by some group unarguably sponsored by this present APC government on board.
“So, it is still the same budget but some simple subtractions and additions were carried out on it in order to fit into the five cardinal points of the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu-led administration,” the source said, adding that the budget would also include the developmental plans of the government.
Another source among the lawmakers of the State House of Assembly further confirmed the development to SaharaReporters
“Yes, we received a notice from the governor and I think through the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) that the budget presentation is being fixed for tomorrow (Tuesday).
“I am sure the budget is now ready since we (lawmakers) have been contacted and we are fully prepared to receive it from the governor anytime soon,” he said.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has the majority of lawmakers in the Assembly to pass the 2017 appropriation bill into law when the budget is presented before the parliamentary house.
SaharaReporters reported that on February 1, 2017, immediate past Governor Olusegun Mimiko attempted to present the state’s 2017 appropriation bill before the parliament but was resisted by some sponsored protesters suspected to be thugs.
The protesters, armed with placards, prevented Mr. Mimiko from presenting the appropriation bill three weeks before his exit from office.
They alleged that the former governor had inserted 38 bills in his favor in the budget. According to them, such action was aimed at putting a financial burden on the new government of Rotimi Akeredolu.
Saka Yusuf-Ogunleye, who led the protesters, claimed that Mr. Mimiko was lobbying the parliamentarians in order to earn a “life pension,” hence his desperate move to present the budget a few weeks before handing over power to Mr. Akeredolu.
It would be recalled that former Governor Olusegun Mimiko presented the sum of N118.9 billion for the 2016 fiscal year, a year before his tenure elapsed in February 2017.
During the presentation, Mr. Mimiko said the recurrent expenditure would gulp N68 billion while N50.9 billion would be appropriated for capital expenditure.
A first-term governor, Mr. Akeredolu assumed office after defeating Mr. Mimiko on February 23, 2017. He was sworn in the following day with promises to usher in a new Ondo State characterized by government transparency and accountability.