His Excellency, Mr. Godwin N. Obaseki
Governor, Edo State
A session of the Edo State House of
Assembly, Benin City
Tuesday, 10th November, 2020
The Hon. Speaker
Hon. Members of the House
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
As I present the 2021 Appropriation Bill, let me begin by first thanking God Almighty for making it possible for us to witness today. I also appreciate Mr. Speaker and members of this honorable House for the robust relationship that has continued to place the state on the path of progress.
This year 2020 has been a very remarkable one in the annals of human history and for Nigeria. In March, the coronavirus pandemic hit our nation. The devastating public health and economic consequences created hardships and despair, which snowballed into the ENDSARS protests. These incidents unfortunately have led to several deaths in the state and the nation.
Let us rise and observe a 1-minute silence in honour of all those who lost their lives during the crisis.
Today, I am presenting to you the first budget of my second term in office, which comes right after a hard-won electoral victory. The election, which was epochal will go into our history books as one of the most engaging elections in the history of Nigeria. We are proud today to have made an indelible mark on our journey to the democratic consolidation as a country and I will like to also congratulate members of this Assembly for your steadfastness and determination to ensure the survival of our democracy.
I stand before you today with a renewed mandate from Edo people, who fought assiduously for my victory at the September 19 polls. With this new charge, I am not unmindful of the need to build on the achievements recorded in the last four years, and forge a path for the realization of our shared vision to Make Edo Great Again (MEGA). I therefore rededicate myself to providing the people with the leadership they deserve.
There is no doubt whatsoever that without the steadfastness, support and loyalty of this House, it would have been very difficult to remove the disruptive influence of Godfathers in our politics and democracy.
I assure you that the sacrifices of the members of the 7th Assembly will not be in vain.
The coronavirus has done tremendous harm across the world and redefined the way we live, work, play and continues to have reverberating effects on our socio-economic life as a people and as a government.
We are now gradually adjusting to the new realities of the times, what is now termed the ‘New Normal,’ which means that we have to restructure our systems, policies, plans and processes in line with the new reality. This therefore calls for the retooling of our workforce and deploying bespoke technology to embrace the change that is sweeping through the world and our dear country.
Technology, human capital and innovation will play critical roles in the new scheme of things within government and the larger economy. We are building the workforce of the future in Edo to attend to these new challenges.
We have no doubt that we shall overcome these challenges if we emphasize and invest in our people, particularly our youths and redesign a government that is responsible and responsive to their needs. Once we can redesign government and the bureaucracy to focus more on providing services efficiently, we will unlock the innate energies, creativity and innovation of our land and people.
However, it is imperative to review some of what transpired in the outgoing year within the context of challenges we faced. Notwithstanding the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic and its resultant economic impact, we were able to record some progress in a number of key areas.
Mr. Speaker, the 2020 appropriation, which you graciously approved, was a very hopeful one, which anticipated meaningful macroeconomic growth and fiscal stability. Against that expectation, we made extensive plans for the year. However, unforeseen circumstances such as the coronavirus and its debilitating impact on economies across the world impacted on our ability to deliver on a number of projects because of the reduction in revenue and downturn in economic activity due to unplanned shutdowns, lockdowns and curfews.
Despite these challenges, we were able to, within the timeframe and resources available, consolidate on a number of our legacy projects, especially in the areas of sports development, industrialization, infrastructural development, healthcare and social services, among others.
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic compelled us to prioritize and upgrade our healthcare infrastructure and workforce to respond to the challenges of the pandemic.
Even though we had started a revamp of our primary healthcare system and recalibrated the Edo Specialist Hospital, more work was needed to bring the entire system up to a level that was able to withstand the shocks from the unprecedented hospitalisations and other health challenges that came with confronting a public health emergency.
Government offices, schools and markets were shut down and curfews imposed for extended periods as part of our response to the pandemic.
We were unable to host the 20th National Sports Festival, which was to hold in April 2020, even though we had expended large sums of money in rebuilding and refurbishing the sporting infrastructure required and in preparing our youths.
However, we are pleased that we were still able to make some progress in some other areas despite these challenges.
Projects targeted at driving industrialization such as the Edo State Modular Refinery project and the CCTEC-Ossiomo Power Plant are ready for commissioning, as work on them progressed. These projects reinforce our commitment to working with more private investors to deepen development and open up the economy for productivity and industrialization.
In spite of the uncertainties which almost overwhelmed different governments across the world, with judicious application of scarce resources, we were able to continue running government and paying salaries.
The 2021 Make Edo Great Again (MEGA) Budget has been crafted taking into consideration the new fiscal and macro-economic realities we face.Mr Speaker, let me place on record the tremendous assistance and support which this House of Assembly provided as we navigated the challenges of the outgoing year. Following the advise of the Federal Ministry of Finance, we had to revise the 2020 budget taking into consideration the new macro-economic realtities.
THE MACROECONOMIC Environment
PERFORMANCE IN 2019 FISCAL Year
The global economy declined by 4.0% in 2019 relative to the 4.2% and 5.2% growth recorded in 2017 and 2018 respectively. This performance was driven by a synchronized slowdown across economies, triggered largely by prolonged trade tensions between the two largest economies in the world – US and China – and Brexit. On the domestic front, the Nigerian economy grew at an average of 2.2%, mainly driven by a modest expansion in the oil sector.
PERFORMANCE IN 2020 FISCAL YEAR
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently downgraded global growth projection in 2020 to a 4.4% contraction, driven majorly by the negative impact of the pandemic on businesses and livelihoods, especially in H1;2020, and the uncertain & protracted recovery path. Across all regions, the Advanced Economies are projected to contract by 5.8% on an expected long road to recovery from the pandemic. Likewise, Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (EMDEs) are forecasted to report their first recession in 6 decades with a 3.3% contraction in GDP due to headwinds from Advanced Economies.
Similarly, Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is expected to contract by 3.3% following the region’s heavy reliance on commodity prices, foreign investment flows and remittances.For Nigeria, GDP growth in Q1:2020 was slower but positive at 1.9% year-on-year (y/y) – the weakest since Q3:2018 – as the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to significantly affect trade, investment and domestic economic activities. Oil sector growth moderated to 5.1% y/y and non-oil sector growth slowed sharply to 1.6% y/y.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian economy contracted 6.1% y/y in Q2:2020 – the worst quarterly performance on record. This captured the full impact of the shutdown in economic activities across many key sectors, following the lockdown measures implemented in early Q2;2020 to curb the spread of the virus. The non-oil sector dipped by -6.1% y/y from 1.6% in the prior quarter, driven mainly by a sharp deterioration in the manufacturing, trade and real estate sectors. Equally, the oil sector contracted by 6.6%y/y from 5.1% in Q1:2020, reflecting Nigeria’s partial compliance to OPEC output cuts during the period. As the lockdowns and other restrictions have gradually been eased since Q3:2020, we anticipate a better performance in subsequent quarters.
OUTLOOK FOR 2021 FISCAL Year
In 2021, the IMF projects a 1.7% growth for the Nigerian economy, as a worst-case scenario. However, the consensus is around a 3% growth for FY2021. The pace of economic recovery would depend on the development (and large-scale clinical application) of a COVID-19 vaccine, the length of lockdowns and how quickly sectors that were most affected by prevention/protection protocols restart. Meanwhile, recovery in the oil sector would be limited by Nigeria’s commitment to producing 1.4mb/d (excluding condensates) in accord with the OPEC+ cut agreement; a continued recovery in the price of crude oil would however mitigate the impact of the production cut. Non-oil sector recovery would depend on how fast the disruptions to the agricultural supply chain can be resolved and how quickly investment and consumption expenditure will make a rebound in governments, coporates and households. Whilst fiscal and monetary stimulus packages announced so far are helping households and small businesses recover from the impact of the pandemic, the size has to be scaled-up (in FY2021) for it to accelerate the pace of recovery.
REVIEW OF 2020COVID-19 REALITIES
As I remarked earlier, the coronavirus pandemic dealt a devastating blow on the economy of Nigeria like that of many other developing countries, dropping their revenue projections to all-time lows. Edo State was no exception. These developments severely affected the livelihoods of many of our citizens.It is important to note however that despite the problems and challenges, Edo State Government did not lay off any workers. We adopted far-reaching measures – adjudged to be some of the most responsive and comprehensive across the country – in containing the pandemic. So far, Edo has recorded 2654 confirmed cases of the pandemic, with 108 mortalities.
Data-driven, proactive strategy
Our response from when the first case was reported was based on a data-driven, proactive strategy.The data generated provided a good base to plan and project measures taken to control the pandemic in the state, which led to the implementation of a response strategy that was adjudged to be one of the best in the country. We constituted a COVID-19 Response Team, which I chaired. We commissioned an epidemiological survey that provided the state with a curve to predict the different stages of the virus’ spread and a pathway for response.
The Edo State COVID-19 Response Team operated an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) with six pillars, namely, communication, incident management, manpower, security, logistics and facilities.
Having trained over 4,200 frontline health workers, providing them with life insurance and hazard allowances, we screened over 500,000 citizens and tested over 17,000 persons. With our limited resources and contributions from the Federal Government, donor agencies and well-meaning citizens, Edo State now has 5 PCR testing facilities and 300-bed capacity isolation centres spread across different health facilities in the state. The Stella Obasanjo Hospital has over 42-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 156-bed holding facility; UBTH has a 48-bed ICU-equipped isolation centre, with the remaining at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH), Auchi General Hospital and Ogbe Nursing Home in GRA, Benin City.
We set up 18 screening centres across the state, with five additional ones at borders with Delta, Ondo and Kogi States and another 8 mobile screening centres moving around wards in local governments to screen and collect samples that fit the case definition for testing.
We led the way in the enforcement of what is known as partial lockdown, which allows for sustenance of the local economy, while non-essential businesses are shut. This hybrid model was later adopted nationwide.
It is on record that Edo was the first state in Nigeria to adopt the compulsory wearing of facemasks. These measures were in addition to the curfew, closure schools, mandatory provision of health and hygiene gears for handwashing in public places and restriction of gathering to not more than 20 persons in public, largely assisted in moderating the impact of the virus on our state. The economic hardship caused by COVID-19 has been severe, in spite of the succor and assistance which we provided as we embarked on the distribution of relief materials in phases, partnering with churches, traditional rulers and community organisations in reaching at least 250,000 vulnerable households in the state.
Our emphasis was on the most vulnerable persons in our society which include orphanages, people living with disabilities (PLWD), the elderly, Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), returnees and other vulnerable groups in the population. Our social welfare programme in the last year also covered returnees mostly youths, who are victims of human trafficking and irregular migration. Working closely with our international partners, we completed a shelter for the returnees in Benin City, to provide for the rehabilitation and resettlement of victims of human trafficking. As at today, the state government through the Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking (ETAHT), has facilitated the return of 5689 persons, who are undergoing different programmes to reintegrate them back into society.
Because we were forced to shut down schools for an extended period, we devised innovative ways to engage children and ensured that they continued to learn while at home. Owing to the reforms which we had commenced through the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST) programme, we were able to transition to e-learning using the EdoBEST@Home platform. Working with our partners and telecoms companies and utilizing our EdoBEST technology platform, virtual classrooms were created and teachers were able to teach children while they were at home.
This our response through the EdoBEST@home initiative has been applauded globally and it has earned Edo State an award as one of the 5 top education accelerator countries in Africa, in the league of Egypt, Rwanda, Mozambique and Sierra Leone.
At the secondary education level, we are utilizing the learnings and experience gained from EdoBEST to restructure and revamp our senior secondary schools.Training of teachers is the key to educational reforms. I am pleased to inform you that the National Council of Colleges of Education (NCCE) has given approval for the establishment of the Edo State College of Education, with three campuses in Abudu, Igueben and Afuze, catering for the three senatorial districts of the state.
Our focus on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) got a major boost this year. The newly rebuilt Government Science and Technical College (GSTC) is in operation and its students are proving to be worth the investment in the institution. We now have representation in national TVET competitions and fairs, a trend that was not the case before now. Technical education, indeed, is taking its place as a key pillar in our quest towards industrialization.
Also, the Federal Government has approved the establishment of a Federal College of Education (Technical) to train teachers in technical subjects. The school will commence operation in Ekiadolor in the premises of the defunct College of Education, Ekiadolor.As for tertiary education in the agricultural sector, I am happy to inform this honourable house that the restructured Edo State College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, with three campuses in Iguoriakhi, Agenebode and Uromi, will admit its first set of students early in 2021.
We are at the verge of completing the recruitment of fresh staff to commence academic activity at the institution, all of who are well qualified and adequately motivated to position the school as a foremost agricultural college in Nigeria that is purposed-built to provided critical manpower and expertise to support our revolutionary direction in agriculture. There is an urgent need to rethink university education globally to realign it with the realities of the new world. In this regard, we have set up a Visitation Panel to the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma to investigate the affairs of the institution, with a view to reposition it for greater relevance and more effectiveness.
We are pleased with the performance of the Edo State Polytechnic, Usen and will be putting more resources to train badly needed manpower to support and sustain our initiatives, particularly in our Urban and Regional Planning initiatives. The Edo University, Iyamho, continues to grow in leaps, even as we continue to explore more avenues to sustain the high standards set in the school.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic caused serious shocks in the economy, we didn’t relent on our quest in facilitating the process to get Edo people to create wealth. This came through the numerous job creating opportunities that pandemic threw at us.In this regard, the Edo State Skills Development Agency (EdoJobs), which has now been formally set up with a new law, engaged in the training of young people and other categories of job seekers to become gainfully employed.
Much of these was done with robust partnership with private partners, who have played huge roles in the upskilling of our youths to compete favourably with their peers.With an initial target to create 200,000 jobs, we had crossed the 150,000 at the start of 2020. Though the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the pace of our job creation and skills development initiative we were able to train our people on how best to take advantage of the need for new products and services that came along with the pandemic.
As a result, we trained thousands of youths to make hand sanitisers, soaps, facemasks, face shields in commercial quantities. This was done alongside with the traditional schemes and programmes of the skills development agency, which include registration, job matching and skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development.We have struck new partnerships with more technology firms which paved way for our youths to acquire highly-sought-after skills in technology and innovation, including data science, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, among others. In the outgoing year, the Edo Creative Hub expanded the scope of its offerings to attract Africa Magic, one of Africa’s biggest production outfits. This resulted in the shooting of a new TV series in the state, which is now being shown on DSTV.
Most of the cast and crew on the show are drawn from our state. This bears testimony to the talent of our youths, which we will continue to give vent with more impactful projects targeting the creative industry. I would also like to mention that the expansion of our production centre is on course, even though it may have apparently suffered some setbacks in the outgoing year. In 2021, we are expanding the production centre to double its capacity.
The National Sports Festival, billed to commence in April, was postponed, but we are confident that the event would hold before the end of the year. The Edo Sports Commission expectedly worked round the clock to prepare our athletes for the competition. The imposing Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium will play host to the competition, but we are glad to announce that we have five other mini-stadia that have been completed to serve the tournament as well. Located in secondary schools, these mini-stadia will serve as fulcrum for the resurgence of grassroots sports in the state, as they are well equipped to host community sporting events.
Our industrialization policy is targeted at opening up the space for investment to facilitate big-ticket projects to site in the state so as to create wealth for our people and diversify our economic base. The commissioning of CCETC-Ossiomo Power Plant will be the catalyst for our industrialization. The project would make ready and reliable electricity available for manufacturers. It will provide power to critical government assets including street lights, government hospitals, the state secretariat, Government House, the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium and other key public buildings, including this State House of Assembly.We are on course on the Benin River Port and Edo Enterprise Park projects, as the Edo Production Centre shows us signs of things to come.
At the centre, which enjoys 24-hour electricity, we have seen the explosion of the Edo enterprising spirit. At the facility, we have artisans and SMEs involved in polythene production, furniture making, shoe making and leather works, toothpick and cotton wool production, welding (iron and brass) and fabrication, ice block production, cosmetic production, hair extensions production, garments production, waste recycling etc.
The Edo Modular Refinery was the cynosure of all eyes this year as our partners on the project made immense progress and are on course to commission the plant, which would play a significant role in recalibrating the state’s economy. This project offers us a chance to being a leader in building of modular refineries with the fabrication yard at the facility, we would also benefit from the increased economic activity in the state’s oil and gas scene, leading to more tax and growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
We would continue to push for more of such projects to ensure that we the requisite infrastructure to attract and keep investment and also engender inclusive growth.
Mr. Speaker and Honourable members, security has become a major challenge for us in Edo State. The breach of the two correctional facilities in our state after the hijack of the #ENDSARS protests is an indication that we have a major challenge with security. This breach led to the escape of not less than 2000 prisoners, which has led us to undertake a rethinking of our security arrangements.
As a state, we will now take on more direct responsibility for our own internal security. This means that we will increase significantly resource deployment to security and organize our communities to participate more in securing their areas. The Nigeria Police Force has just completed the training of the first batch of 900 out of the 2000 shortlisted persons for community policing. With these deployments and the employment of more Public Works Volunteers (PUWOV), we are optimistic that the state will be secured. In the outgoing year, we beefed up the Operation Wabaizigan, with the deployment of speed and gunboats to the riverine areas to protect the people and government assets.
With a commitment to drive economic expansion, we prioritized the development of road infrastructure in the outgoing year. However, with shocks suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to do only so much. Contractors and their workers downed tools in compliance with the COVID-19 shutdown.Unfortunately, we have not been able to make as much progress as anticipated because most of the large construction firms had to vacate their sites due to shutdowns resulting from COVID-19. We are pleased that they have now resumed and have given assurances that they will take advantage of the dry season to make quick progress on their projects.
Mr. Speaker, the reform of the Civil Service and the bureaucracy of government has always been our priority even before the advent of COVID-19. With the pandemic, it is even more urgent. We are rebuilding the civil service so that we can energize the engine of government to deliver service to our people. We have started the process of creating a high-performance civil service. The John Odigie-Oyegun Public Service Academy is now open and experts have commenced work to review processes and train public servants. We are restructuring government to support, digitally enable and deliver services to our people efficiently.
To strengthen our local government administration, we have also built the Local Government Staff Training School in Bekuma, Akoko Edo Local Government of the state in line with this vision.We have strengthened operations of the Edo State Internal Revenue Service (EIRS) through the Edo Revenue Administrative System (ERAS), which is redefining the way government collects and manages its revenue.
We recorded improvement in the agricultural sector with the incursion of new investors to the state, in furtherance of our vision to make agriculture the mainstay of our economy. With the very transparent land management system emplaced with the operations of the Edo State Geographic Information Service (EdoGIS), a lot more investors are taking advantage of our rich and fertile land to do business, growing investment in commercial farming.I am pleased to inform you that the Edo Oil Palm Initiative in which we partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria has taken off with the allocation of over 40,000 hectares of land for cultivation to 6 firms.In partnership with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc), we leveraged the CBN Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) and to expand cultivation of cash crops across the state. The Edo Food and Agriculture Cluster (Edo-FAC) in Ehor, Uhunmwode Local Government Area has benefited over 1,300 farmers I the axis through its 6 main components viz Food and Agricultural Products Cluster, Entrepreneurship and Agribusiness Development Centre, Centre for Agricultural Communications and Agronomy, Agricultural Engineering and Fabrication, Farmer’s Market and Provision of Agricultural Extension Services.
2021 BUDGET ESTIMATES
Mr Speaker, the size of the budget for the 2021 fiscal year is N153.4 billion, which is a 9.7% increase compared to the 2020 revised budget of N139.8 billion. This budget comprises of N94.8 billion for Recurrent and N58.6 billion for capital expenditure.
The total receipts of N153 billion expected for the 2021 fiscal year, comprise the following items:
Capital Development fund receipts
For the FGN/FAAC, the N71 billion expected (relative to the N60 billion to be earned in FY2020) is reflective of a 23% increase in the price per barrel of crude currently trading at a price of $28 per barrel in FY2020. It is expected to trade at an average $45 per barrel in FY2021. We have, however, adopted $40 per barrel for budget purposes, establishing a fiscal buffer of $5 per barrel. We also expect an improved performance in VAT component of FAAC, given the expected positive growth in GDP in FY2021.
We would be accessing loans up to the tune of N15.3 billion, while we have an opening cash balance of N7.5 billion.
Given the expected 3% growth in GDP, we expect GDP in absolute terms to grow from N2.35 trillion in 2020 to N2.4 trillion in 2021. The tax to GDP ratio currently in operation in Edo State is 1.5% on the average. This therefore translates to a target IGR amount of N36 billion in FY2021.
Mr Speaker, the 1.5% tax to GDP ratio is quite low, but we are targeting aggressive reforms in revenue collection and management to grow it to 6% by 2024. Also, 70% of the grant of N9.8 billion expected in FY2021 is a stimulus to reinvigorate the economy following the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the balance 30% are grants targeted at basic and technical education sectors. The N15.3 billion loan receipts are credit lines from the World Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), targeted development projects in the agriculture, education and rural development sectors. The total loan size is well within the 15% fiscal deficit ceiling prescribed by the Federal Government.
Mr. Speaker, we have put structures in place to ensure that the fiscal deficit established in the budget is below the recommended deficit ceiling in other to ensure a positive solvency position for the government.
Mr. Speaker, you will recall that in collaboration with this Honourable house, we have designed a unique instrument through which the state government can attract private sector funding targeted at key development projects. This was done in a manner that does not place heavy burden on the state government’s balance sheet. Our combined efforts have thus led to our ability to syndicate N25 billion of private sector funding, of which N13.8 billion will crystalise in FY2021.
I will want to thank the leadership of the House for working closely with us to achieve this feat.
The N94.8 billion recurrent expenditure estimate for FY2021 represents a 24% growth from the N76.6 billion actual expected in FY2020. The main driver of this growth is increase in allocation for salary payment and pension contributions to cater for new hires occasioned by the ongoing civil service transformation project.
The N58.6 billion capital expenditure for FY2021 will be channeled to the critical sectors of the economy as follows:
- Roads & transport infrastructure
- Physical, urban and regional planning
- Other economic growth and employment enablers
Law & Justice
OUR FOCUS IN 2021
The 2021 budget is exclusively pinned on robustly responding to the dislocations caused by the coronavirus pandemic, whilst building a workforce of the future in our bid to make Edo State great again.
With these in focus, the 2021 budget is primed at strengthening the state’s healthcare system across board, sustaining gains in the education and social sectors and providing needed stimulus to drive food security, supporting the weak and vulnerable in our society and actively engaging our youths.
It is pertinent to note that these targeted investments are on the state’s most valued resources – its people. As a government, we strongly believe that to truly build and sustain a vibrant and productive state, we must first boast of a thriving, capable population, particularly the youths, buffeted by the right systems to sustain their existence and livelihoods.
This budget is the statement of our resolve to keep our people alive in a world that is ravaged by disease and despair and equip our young people with the right tools to navigate their survival and realise their full potentials.
Much as we would have loved to pursue the development of other critical sectors of the state, we are convinced that the investment in our people, protecting them from this pandemic and ensuring they are healthy and safe, is the first step to truly surviving these perilous times and giving Edo people a head start as we forge new alliances and paths to progress in a post-COVID-19 world. This budget shows how we intend to demonstrate this resolve.
Human capital/Civil Service Reforms
Pension and Gratuities
Contribution to the State Health Insurance Scheme
Physical, urban and regional planning
N 9 billion
Taking cognizance of the fact that quality education underpin our developmental aspirations, our targets in strengthening the education system would not be compromised. In essence, we would be committing 12.9bn to the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme. This would sustain gains made and ensure the roll out of the programme to other sections of the basic education scheme in the state, specifically from Basic 7 to 9.
To further institutionalize the EdoBEST program, we would be launching the Edo STAR Teaching Fellows program. This is a unique 3-year Fellowship Program, designed for teachers and aspiring teachers in Primary and Junior Secondary Schools. The STAR fellowship program aims to train and groom a new generation of school teachers who are passionate, technologically-savvy, transformative and societally conscious about nation-building through education. The program will be administered by the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Edo State College of Education, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) and our Technical Partner. Our expenditure in basic education would focus on reconfiguring the infrastructure in schools to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 containment guidelines.
Our vision to make Edo great again lies strongly on building a virile and productive youth population. We would therefore be replicating the success at the Government Science and Technical College (GSTC) across the state, building the necessary manpower to drive industrial growth. In 2021, we shall commence the construction and equipping of three other technical colleges.
Civil Service Capacity Enhancement
To make Edo great again, we need to focus on our people, who are our most cherished asset. Though we have embarked on far-reaching reforms to retool the civil service for efficiency and productivity in the last four years, the progress we have seen has buoyed us to pursue even more systemic reforms. In this regard, we would be injecting more resources in enhancing the capacity of our civil and public servants, which includes training packages that would restore the pride of place of the service. With the completion of the John Odigie-Oyegun Training Academy, we are set to collaborate with local and international partners on top-of-the-range short and long term courses that would fix challenges with quality of service, efficiency in the workplace and hitches in effective work flow.
Our target is to make the state’s workforce the envy of all, bestowing the workers with tools and skills that stand them out, make for a better work-life balance and assure better service.
To achieve this, we would commit N6.1 billion to inject requisite skill into the service to drive sustainable development.
Edo State Health Insurance Scheme
Bracing from the strain on the healthcare sector by the coronavirus pandemic, we now have a workable model for responding to demand for affordable and comprehensive healthcare services. This is in line with our plan to roll out the Edo State Health Insurance Scheme. With the scheme, Edo people would by contributing a meagre sum have access to quality healthcare across the state.
Aside that this would reduce out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare, it would provide a robust base for affordable, quality healthcare across board, lure private investment to the state and unlock the potential of the sector to respond to the needs of Edo people.
We intend to strengthen the critical institutions and systems required to effectively provide affordable and quality healthcare service to our people. In the light of this, we are committing more resources to the facilitate Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) operations and access to medicare for low income and lower middle-class households in the state. We are also providing for palliatives and hazard allowance, procurement of medical equipment for COVID-19 treatment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). In supporting a robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we would be reinforcing structures to support provision of effective and efficient medicare at the Local Government Area (LGA) level. This would be done through provision of infrastructure at PHCs and General Hospitals with a view to supporting COVID-19 Response teams at the LGA level.
Physical, urban and regional planning
Commencing in January 2021, Edo State will begin a very ambitious urban and regional planning process. This also includes the Edo State Economic and Social Masterplan. This plan will assist in, among others, dealing with planlessness in our cities and helping in urban renewal and redevelopment initiatives.
We are would pursue a robust livelihood restoration and community infrastructure projects aimed at ensuring that our people do not succumb to the whims of harsh conditions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic headwinds.
With the immense role agriculture plays in stimulating the economy and ensuring food security, we would undertake a number of agriculture support programmes targeted at rural and sub-urban areas. These include the Accelerated Agriculture Development Programme (Agriprenuer), Oil Palm Development Programme and agriculture processing infrastructure/systems and commodity marketing systems.
We would also continue the development of agricultural colleges infrastructure to develop a robust manpower to sustain the reforms being undertaken in the sector.
Entrepreneurship, Technology and Innovation
With a keen focus on entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, we would sustain the reforms and projects we are pursuing through the Edo State Skills Development Agency (EdoJobs). These implies more opportunities for youths in productive and innovative sectors, including the expansion of the production centre initiative across the state; unlocking more potentials in the Edo Innovation Hub and allied offerings and deepening of skills development programmes in across industries.
We would sustain the investment in infrastructure reforms by continuing work on critical road projects across the state. Much as there are competing demand for scarce resources, would sustain our urban renewal and rural community development projects to better the lot of our people.
Mr Speaker, I will like to once again thank this honourable House for their unwavering support to the Executive arm of government.
The House has provided the right atmosphere to continue to initiate and implement bold reforms to engender inclusive growth and development in the state.
Our thanks also go to all our traditional and religious leaders for their continuous support and prayers during this very difficult year. Your support for our programmes, polices and reforms, have gone a long way in ensuring the successes we have recorded thus far. We continue to count on your wise counsel to guide our path as we march forward to all-round prosperity.
To the youths, trade groups and professional bodies, who have been the baston of our support, I appreciate your loyalty, unalloyed commitment to progress and trust in my mandate to lead and effect needed change in our society.
Mr. Speaker and Honourable members, it is now my pleasure and honour to present to you, the Edo State 2021 Appropriation Bill of N153,403,890,093.06 and details of the Budget proposal for your consideration and approval.
Thank you for your kind attention.