Okitipupa – The Ondo State Government has awarded no fewer than 390 projects worth N17.38 billion in Ondo South Senatorial district between January and September in the 2018 budgetary provisions.
Mr Emmanuel Igbasan, the state Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, made the disclosure on Thursday in Okitipupa during a town hall meeting with stakeholders in the senatorial district on 2019 Budget.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the senatorial district comprises: Ilaje, Okitipupa, Ile-Oluji/Okeigbo, Irele, Ese-Odo and Odigbo Local Government Areas.
Igbasan said that the projects, which cut across the district, were meant to transform the area as planned by Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
According to him, N6 billion has been paid to the various contractors handling the projects.
The commissioner said that some of the projects include: 191 school projects executed by the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) worth over N2 billion and N5.8 billion worth of integrated rice project comprising a rice farm of 5,000 hectares at Ese-Odo Local Government Area of the district.
The commissioner also mentioned the N4.4 billion worth of fertiliser blending plant contract being executed at Odigbo Local Government area of the district.
He said that over N250 million was recently approved by the state governor as 2015/2016 Bursary/Scholarship benefits for 5,393 undergraduate and post- graduate students from Ilaje and Ese Odo Local Government Areas through Ondo State Oil Producing Development Area Commission (OSOPADEC).
Igbasan said that the state government was determined to have an all-inclusive, robust and people-oriented budget in 2019.
According to him, the forum is designed to seek inputs and candid opinions on the fiscal policy of the state in a bid to ensure a prosperous state.
“We need your feedback on what we have done or doing and what you feel we should do to expand the fiscal space of the state; create wealth for the people; reverse the trend of huge infrastructure deficit and in the long run, ensure better and brighter state.
“The need for robust and sound budget cannot be over-emphasised. Hence, we must realise that we must challenge ourselves and be prepared to think anew; act anew and create anew through contribution of our quota,’’ he said.
Igbasan said that at the end of the process, creative ideas and initiatives that would make 2019 budget respond to the yearnings of the people would be generated.
Mr Bunmi Alade, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, said that if ideas and prioritised needs of the people were entrenched in the budget, it would be called People’s Budget and not Government’s Budget.
Alade noted that the new dimension was the best practice for the state, especially the present economic reality which restricted the state government from meeting virtually all needs.
In his remark, the Jegun of Idepe Okitipupa, Oba Michael Obatuga, lauded Akeredolu led-administration for coming up with the forum for the people at the grassroots to contribute to the fiscal policy of the government.
The traditional ruler appealed to the state government to implement all requests being tabled.
Mr Funminiyi Olowodasa, President of National Association of the Physically Challenged in Irele Local Government Area of the district, commended the governor for his welfare programmes for the disabled and for appointing a member of the association into his cabinet.
Olowodasa appealed to the state government to employ members of the association, especially the educated ones, into the state civil service and get others engaged in various empowerment programmes.
Mr Agbejoye Adetoye, the Chairman, Niger Delta Youth Movement (NDYM), Ondo State Chapter, said that the proposed budget should consider youth engagement in meaningful and substantive means in reducing drastically social vices, especially theft and violence.