In continuation of its consultative meetings with relevant stakeholders in preparation of the year 2020 budget and 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEF), Ondo State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget met with representatives of Women Organizations, Youth Groups and Student Bodies in the State.
The Commissioner for the Ministry, Pastor Emmanuel Igbasan, while addressing them at the conference hall of the ministry in Akure, said the meeting was to open up the anticipated inflow and outflow of the state resources to relevant stakeholders in order to engender allocation of resources for optimum benefit of the citizens of the State.
The Commissioner noted that Governor Akeredolu has realized that budget should not contain what government proposed to do for the people but rather what the people want government to do for them in the order of priority.
According to him, "the idea is for the citizens to see the budget as a mechanism to show what the people want the government to do for them, and not what the government intends to do for the people".
He added that the meeting would serve as avenue to harmonize the inputs and opinions of the stakeholders on the fiscal policy of the state government with a view to enhance a prosperous State.
Pastor Igbasan said the government intentionally want to harness their inputs into budget preparation to know the critical areas they want government to intervene as a well-organized bodies and also assist government to enlighten the public on how government generate and allocate it’s resources
While highlighting some of the achievements of the administration in the past two years, Igbasan stated that over 80kilometres of roads have been constructed, renovation of about 800 public primary school with provision of water, toilet facilities and modern learning equipment, while payment of salary has been regular including arrears inherited from immediate government in order to rejig the economy.
He reiterated the avowed commitment of the Akeredolu-led government towards industrialisation in the state, which gave birth to the Ore industrial hub where about five companies have commenced operation with the capacity to employ over 25,000 people.
According to him, the government has been able to improve the healthcare system in the state through the increment in the number of Mother and Child hospitals to seven, establishment of Health Insurance Scheme and distribution of 24 containers of essential medical materials across the health care facilities in the State.
Pastor Igbasan who stated that the 2020 budget would be targeted at policies and programs that will have direct positive impact on the citizens such as agriculture, Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprise among others, promised that none of the ongoing projects across the state would be abandoned.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Bunmi Alade, said that in order to have a robust and realistic budget, there is the need for every stakeholder to know how figures are being compiled in crafting the budget.
While presenting the 2019-2021 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the 2019 Budget projections, the Director of Budget, Mr. Stephen Aworere, stated that MTEF is a three-year planning tool used in the estimation of aggregate resource envelope available to government and the allocation of those resources to meet government socio-economic development objectives and priorities.
He stated that the rationale behind the adoption of MTEF included the estimation of resource envelope on an objective and predictable basis such that budget managers would be empowered to plan and execute budget with greater confidence, thereby delivering services more efficiently and effectively.
He emphasized the need for an increase in the Internally Generated Revenue for the State in order to meet critical needs of the people.
At the meeting, different professional bodies gave useful contributions on how to increase the Internally Generated revenue of the state to finance the budget as well as the expectations of the people from government in terms of needed interventions in the society.
They emphasized the need for government to make agriculture more attractive to the youths, women empowerment, and value addition to agriculture produce, payment of scholarship assess to loan facilities, among other.