By Tony Ehighiale, Benin City
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki of Edo on Tuesday signed the state’s 2017 Appropriation Bill of N153.2 billion into law.
This is coming just as the governor also signed into law a bill for the amendment of the state’s Contributory Pension Act.
Obaseki told the Edo House of Assembly in Benin that the signing of both bills was remarkable and signified an important era in his administration and in the state.
He added that the 2017 appropriation bill was “a budget of consolidation and prosperity”, saying it would consolidate on achievements of previous administration and lead to prosperity.
He commended the state’s House of Assembly for speedy passage of the appropriation bill and for retaining the budget for the reform of the civil service.
He said “it was clear in our minds that we want to appropriate more money to the civil service, and I am grateful that you have retained all what we asked for.
“Without improving the conditions of the civil service, we will not be able to get the level of productivity required from them.”
The governor said the goal of his administration was to eliminate outstanding pension arrears before the end of his term.
According to him, the state government started implementing the contributory pension scheme in January 2017.
He noted that “we have cut off from the old system and the responsibility we have now is to settle all outstanding pension issues.
“We now have a scheme which will not have pension deficit in future.”
The governor also intimated house members of his administration’s plan to create 500 agro-entrepreneurs and the approval by the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) to run Taiwo Akpata University of Education in the state.
The Speaker of the House, Mr Justin Okonoboh, said “today, we are ready with the appropriation bill and I am excited to present it to Mr Governor.”
Okonoboh said pensioners in Edo would soon smile.
The Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Mr Damain Lawani, later told
newsmen that the committee gave priority to health and agriculture, considering the ongoing reforms in the sectors.
He said the committee would also perform oversight duties to ensure that the budget was accordingly implemented.
The Edo House of Assembly on Monday passed the state’s 2017 budget proposal of N153.18 billion.
Gov. Obaseki had on Dec. 19, 2016, presented a budget proposal of N150 billion to the Assembly for consideration and passage.