By Tom FredFish
On Wednesday, 14 November, 2018, Governor Udom Emmanuel presented the 2019 budget proposals to the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly tagged: “Industrialization for Poverty Alleviation” – focused on industrialization as a means to generate wealth for Akwa Ibom Citizenry. According to Governor Emmanuel, apart from the fact that the budget will ensure the establishment of more industries in the state, the budget will also create wealth and ensure that Akwa Ibom people become self-reliant and employers of labour.
Here are forty takeaways from the 2019 budget as presented by Governor Udom:
1. The budget recognizes that education plays a key role in the socio-economic development of any nation, state or society thus, the Udom administration intends to reposition the education sector to deliver qualitative, affordable, inclusive and functional education to the citizen from 2019.
2. The budget made provision for instructional materials such as textbooks, laboratory equipment/ fittings, chemical and reagents to ensure quality education in Akwa Ibom State.
3. The government in 2019 will place high emphasis on Science, technical and vocational education so as to produce graduates that would occupy positions in most of the industries being established by the government.
4. Government will continue to pay Bursary and award scholarships to deserving and exceptional students of Akwa Ibom state across the country.
5. The budget recognized that ICT and Science are the catalysts for economic growth, social development and job creations thus Governor Emmanuel’s administration aims to build a strong and rich intellectual human capacity in Science and Technology for Akwa Ibom citizens without discrimination in gender or age.
6. Government intends to set up an ICT academy for the training of Civil servants in the State as well as the training of unemployed graduates on ICT under the Graduate Assistant Programme (GAP) in 2019.
7. Government also intends to pursue e-governance, establish Resources and Development Laboratory, Technology Workshop, etc in 2019.
8. The 2019 budget recognizes the importance of agriculture in the socio-political and industrial development of the state, hence government under Mr. Udom Emmanuel intends to continue investing in agriculture in order to alleviate poverty among the people, attain food security, and boost agricultural production for domestic, industrial and foreign consumption.
9. Government targets to boost production and the marketing of cash crops, staple foods, livestock and fisheries through institutional and infrastructural empowerment of private, small, medium and large-scale crop and livestock farmers that will not only provide food to the populace, but also generate much needed jobs and create wealth for Akwa Ibom citizens.
10. In 2019, Government will continue to provide funding for agricultural activities such as Cassava Development Programmes, Rice Development Projects, Integrated Farmers’ Scheme (IFS), FADAMA III Plus Additional Financing, Raffia Palm Development Project, AKS Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (AK-RAAMP), Development of Marine Fisheries and Fish Farm Estate Project, Livestock Development Project, Horticulture, Vegetable and Cocoa Green House Project, Akwa Palm Hatchery Project, Veterinary Public Health and other activities of the Agricultural sector geared towards food sufficiency in the State.
11. The Governor Udom Emmanuel budget of Industrialization for Poverty Alleviation 2019 recognizes shelter as one of the three globally known necessities of life such that, his government has placed premium for the provision of safe, decent and accessible low-cost housing to the citizens of the state by partnering with high level housing development experts through Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) to construct low cost and very low density houses and estates for the low and middle income group as well as a Unity Luxury Estates for the high income group.
12. The government will through the Land, Housing and Urban Development Ministries embark on the completion of the Ibom International Airport, Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre, 4 Point by Sheraton, New Governor’s Lodge, Lagos, the International Worship Centre and construction of 21-storey building to provide office space for high target investors and multi-national companies.
13. In the 2019 budget, Government has prioritized attention on the State Secretariat (phase 3), which would house a number of MDAs that are still located in rented apartments and causing government to spend so much on payment of rents.
14. The government intends to construct residential quarters for legislators; relocate the Federal Prison and Police Barracks from Wellington Bassey Way; develop Ibom Airline; and renovate most government buildings, etc.
15. Government in 2019 will also continue in the beautification and creation of open spaces and developing them into active usable space for her citizens.
16. Government is to sustain the accelerated pace in the rural transformation drive in Akwa Ibom State by providing basic and economic infrastructure such as, electricity, portable and mini-water schemes, rural feeder roads, as well as farm roads and bridges.
17. In 2019, Government will continue the rehabilitation of existing feeder/farm roads, bridges and tarring of slippery hills to ease the transporting of foodstuff and other local products to available markets.
18. Government will also continue the process of electrification of rural communities as well as provision of portable water to reduce water borne diseases.
19. The safeguarding and maintenance of a clean and sustainable environment for use by present and future generations has always been a major obligation of Governor Emmanuel’s administration, therefore Government in 2019 will as a matter of urgency safeguard our environment, manage waste and put in place flood control measures in affected parts of the state.
20. In 2019, major interventions under the environment sector will focus on protection of the environment and ecological systems across the state by the construction of drainage facilities in Uyo capital city, with particular reference to the state secretariat and IBB Way; state-wide coastal/ gully Erosion Control; Erosion Control in primary and secondary schools; Flood Control project at Use Offot, Nwaniba;
21. Government will in 2019 purchase waste management equipment and vigorously pursue Urban Refuse Disposal programme; forest regeneration; exploration of solid minerals, strengthening of weather and climate information systems in Akwa Ibom State.
22. Government recognises the fact that Investment and commerce are major contributors to economic growth and development in the 2019 budget and it has put measures in place to encourage major conglomerates, core investors and professional service providers (banks/finance houses and servicing companies for major multi-nationals) to create regional/zonal offices and major production/distribution hubs in the State so as to mitigate capital flight, create jobs, and grow Akwa Ibom economy.
23. Government will provide funding for the following activities to consolidate on the gains achieved so far: design and development of Industrial Estates/Parks including the upgrading of facilities in Uyo phase 2 industrial park; organization of export awareness campaign/export forum in a bid to promote non-oil export to de-emphasize dependence on oil for foreign exchange: industrial promotion programmes in collaboration with relevant agencies and private investors to identify and establish at least 3 new industries by December, 2019: organization of business education and development programmes to encourage entrepreneurial development in the state; participation in both state, National and international trade fairs; promotion of MSME’s development programmes: encouragement of industrial research and inspectorate service to facilitate the development of enabling laws and legislation of industries.
24. Government recognizes culture as the mirror that reflects people’s actions and defines their outlook on life as well as it’s ability to generated revenue. Therefore, Government intends to undertake the following programmes: Expansion work at Ibom 5-star Hotel and Golf Resort; Completion of the multi-million Naira Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre with Cineplex, Galleria, Malls, Dry and Wet Park, Hotel and Convention Centre;
25. Government will sponsor the State Arts and Culture Troupe to National and International Arts and Culture festivals and also sponsor those of Children’s Cultural Troupe as well as develop the Ibom Unity Park in Udo Udoma Avenue, Uyo.
26. The Government of Mr. Udom Emmanuel considers healthcare to be the absolute right of every individual, and therefore aims at the reduction and possible eradication of morbidity and mortality from communicable and non-communicable diseases in 2019 through the continuous rehabilitation of health institutions and the provision of additional healthcare facilities and services in Akwa Ibom State.
27. The budget 2019 notes that government will continue to implement the policy on free medical treatment for children of five years and below, pregnant women and the elderly of 70 years and above to ensure effective health care delivery.
28. Government in 2019 has made provision for the smooth take-off of the Health Insurance Scheme, while the Primary Healthcare Development Agency has been established to ensure efficiency in Primary Healthcare delivery.
29. Government will continue to rehabilitate health facilities; procure and distribute equipment to health institutions; provide Medical Emergency Response Services; construct State Public Health Laboratory; complete the TB Laboratory in Ikot Ekpene; procure incinerators and a specialized truck for bio-medical waste.
30. Government will make provision for accreditation of courses in other Health institutions in the State; provision for immunization programme, HIV and malaria treatment; restructuring of Emergency Operation Centers in the State and others.
31. In 2019, Government will continue to engage in the construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges; construction of landing jetties and waiting halls; rehabilitation of beaches and terminals to aid maritime transportation; construction of heavy duty vehicles/trailer parks; provision of modern and aesthetic bus-stops;
32. Government will establish a driving institute to regulate activities of driving schools in the State; link the State to the on-going Port Harcourt – Abuja light Rail; improve and maintain standard urban electricity supply as well as street and traffic lights along major roads and streets;
33. Government will provide fire prevention equipment and equip the state fire service, among others in 2019.
34. In order to ensure continued effective information dissemination of government programmes, policies and activities in a strategic manner government intends to provide information and communication infrastructure such as the construction of a modern broadcasting House for AKBC Radio/TV (Phase I); rehabilitation of the Government Printing Press and Pioneer Newspaper; overhaul and procurement of broadcasting equipment for the new AKBC TV Studio.
35. Government will work to establish Sports Academy and Sport Centres in the 10 federal Constituencies of the State; develop and maintain Sports Stadia across the State and pursue sports development through participation in national and International sporting activities and competitions.
36. Government will embark on programmes and activities targeting the youth, women, children, elderly, physically-challenged and other socially-disadvantaged persons will also be embarked on to achieve government’s mandate of economic and social inclusion.
37. The Udom Emmanuel administration will continue to support the legal framework to provide prompt and effective legal services to the Government and people of Akwa Ibom State through the provision of resources for execution of the review and reform of obsolete laws; production of Akwa Ibom State laws; prompt prosecution of criminal and civil cases, prompt and accurate drafting of relevant Bills, preparation of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU), Agreements, and other Legal documents for the State Government
38. Government will establish two Area Offices of Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (CADR) in Eket and Ikot Ekpene Senatorial Districts as well as construct and renovate judges and Magistrates’ Quarters and where none existed, construct a High Court Complex to accommodate High Courts, Magistrate Courts, Administrative Blocks, Health Centre and Recreational Grounds.
39. Government notes in budget 2019 that issue of Security in today’s world is of paramount importance to all citizens of the world and to investors everywhere. Though Akwa Ibom State has enjoyed an enviable position of peace and security, the government opined in the budget that peace and security must be maintained at all costs so that the State can remain a destination of choice for potential investors to come in and invest.
40. The Public Service is the engine room of every government. This is where policies and decisions are formulated that is why the Udom Emmanuel administration values very highly, the skills inherent in the work force of the State and will therefore continue to ensure prompt payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities of workers in the public services as well as provide recognition for high productivity. Consequently the Udom administration will continue to provide appropriate training and retraining within and outside Nigeria, in line with the administration’s policy of human capacity development.
Tom FredFish is a public policy analyst.