It is with a great sense of honour and gratitude to God that I stand before this Honourable House today to present the Abia State 2019 – 2021 Medium Term Draft Estimates. May I first of all on behalf of myself and the Executive Arm of Government, express our unreserved appreciation to all of you in the Legislature for your cooperation and support to this administration in the journey to a better Abia State.
Mr. Speaker and Honourable members, the global economic growth projection remains moderate due to the volatility of the international crude oil market and the trade wars between the major world economic powers. The Nigerian economy shows optimism given the recovery from recession and stability in oil production capacity due to relative peace in the Niger Delta.
These circumstances notwithstanding, in Abia State, we are mindful of the uncertainties and have adopted several strategies to appropriately position our state to take advantage of the opportunities brought by the current realities in the country. There is the need for us to be proactive, plan better, work harder, prioritise our needs and be prudent in the management of our resources.
The 2019 -2021 Multi-year Estimates proposal is carefully packaged in line with International Fiscal Transparency Principles. The process adopted has been participatory and inclusive. The State keyed into the Open Government Partnership with the aim of enhancing efficiency, promote ease of doing business and service delivery. It was a painstaking process aimed at building the people’s confidence and trust in the Government. All our efforts are meant to achieve a strong, diversified and competitive state economy that would provide hope for the ordinary citizens, jobs for the unemployed and peace for the sustainable economic development of Abia State. 
In view of the unpredictable variables that affect the receipts from the statutory Allocation, we have made efforts to protect our financial systems by the introduction of several reform measures to strengthen our financial services and improve the collection of our internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Mr. Speaker, the draft estimates proposal is intended to strategically strengthen our achievements in areas such as creating conducive environment for local and foreign investors, providing opportunities for human capital development, revitalizing social services as well as building critical infrastructure for sustainable development. The projects and programmes in the budget are in consonance with the Medium Term Expenditure Plan and are built around the Five Pillars of Development of this Administration.
Mr. Speaker, the 2018 budget performance has been consistent with our broad objective as encapsulated in the strategic economic plan of this Administration.
The outcome and impact of our commitment to the economic growth and development of Abia State as driven by our Five Pillars – including the enablers – have been tangible despite some challenges within the Fiscal Year. 
This Administration has been able to embark on a lot of laudable projects and programmes that positively impacted the livelihood to the people of the state. Our performance cut across the various sectors namely Administrative, Economic, Law and Justice and Social Sectors.
In the Administrative sector for instance, we have inaugurated reforms that have put the people at the centre of governance. Our budget process has involved citizens engagement and inclusiveness. The public sector reforms are meant to bring about transparency, accountability and sustainability in service delivery.
This Administration realizes the important role the civil service plays in the success of any Government. In view of this, the state civil service commission was given approval to recruit more than three hundred and forty-seven (347) new officers. In addition, waiver has been given to recruit additional 1,000 candidates into the state public service.
In the Economic Sector, We have recorded notable achievements in the areas of Agriculture, commerce, Water Supply, Small and Medium Enterprises development through Public Private Partnership and in the provision of infrastructures in the State.
Mr. Speaker, Honourable members, as at the third quarter of 2018, the Revenue Receipt was Fifty-two Billion, four hundred and sixty-one Million, six hundred and ninety-four thousand, six hundred and thirty-nine naira only (N52,461,694,639). This is made up of Statutory Allocation of Forty one Billion, two hundred and eighty-six Million, One hundred and seventy- one thousand, five hundred and six naira only ( N41,286,171,506) and Independent Revenue of Eleven Billion, one hundred and seventy five Million, five hundred and twenty three thousand, one hundred and thirty three Naira Only (N11,175,523,133). The independent Revenue showed a significant shortfall.
This drawback is a major concern. However, the on-going reforms in the Public financial Management and tax administration system would take care of this deficiency soon. The total budget outlay for 2018 was One hundred and Forty Billion, Nine hundred and forty-four Million, Eight hundred and Eighty-four thousand, seven hundred and seventy Naira (N140,944,884,770) only. As at the 3rd Quarter of 2018, the total expenditure was Forty-Eight Billion, one hundred and thirteen Million, five hundred and thirty-four Thousand, Two hundred and forty-Six Naira(N48,113,534,246) only. It is envisaged that considerable increase in capital expenditure would be recorded by the end of the 4th quarter due to increase in construction works during the dry season.
In the 2019 fiscal year, we shall reinvigorate Governance with renewed commitment to people’s well-being through citizens engagement and needs identification in project selection. We shall focus on efforts to sustain measures to improve on our internally generated revenue and encourage various economic empowerment programmes to reduce the level of poverty and unemployment among the youths.
The strategic frame work would include:-
• Provision of enabling environment for investors.
• Efforts would be intensified to complete on-going projects.
• Encourage and support entrepreneurship development.
• Development of human capital.
• Development of Agricultural value chain.
• Sustain value reorientation in the Public Service.
• Support growth of SMEs and provide environment for Peace and Security.
• Sustain our commitment to the provision of needed infrastructure
The 2019 draft Estimate is conceptualized to fully realize the objectives of our Five Pillars of development as conceptualized at the inception of this Administration. In 2019, our focus will be on continuity and sustenance of the gains achieved by this Administration in the Areas of Agriculture, Education, Health, Infrastructural Development and Youth/Women Empowerment.
In the light of this perspective, the 2019 Estimates has been christened THE BUDGET OF CONSOLIDATION. This budget is envisioned to deepen the achievements recorded in preceding years. It is meant to ensure the completion of ongoing Projects/Programmes. Furthermore, it would also focus on some fiscal objectives such as:-
• To ensure the expansion of the revenue generation capacity of the state.
• To Eliminate wastages and other unjustified expenditures that are not linked to policy objectives and –
• To ensure that only Projects/Programmes provided for in the 2019 budget are funded. 
Mr. Speaker, after due consideration of relevant macroeconomic indices and prevailing variables, the estimated budget for 2019 fiscal year is Five hundred and forty two Billion Naira only (N139,542,000,000).
This Budget outlay is slightly less than that of 2018 which was One hundred and Forty Billion, Nine hundred and forty-four Million, eight hundred and eighty-five thousand, Seven hundred and seventy Naira only (N140,944,885,770). The reason for this moderate decrease is mainly due to our resolve to formulate a budget that conforms to the current economic circumstances in the country.
The draft budget is made up of a total sum of Sixty seven Billion, eight hundred and thirteen million, One hundred and one thousand, two hundred and thirty five Naira Only (N67,813,101,235) which is 48.6% of the budget as recurrent expenditure while the capital expenditure is Seventy One Billion, seven hundred and twenty eight million, eight hundred and ninety eight thousand, Naira Only (N71, 728,898,000). This represents 51.4 percent of the total budget.
Recurrent Revenue: In the 2019 fiscal year, the expected total inflow is Ninety three Billion, Eight hundred and seven Million, Five hundred and four thousand, Six hundred and Seventy-one Naira only (N93,807,504,671). This is made up of Sixty-Nine Billion, Four hundred and Thirty-Two Million, Seven hundred and sixty-six Thousand, Seven hundred and Seventy-five Naira (N69,432,766,775) from the statutory allocation of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) representing 73.98 percent of the recurrent revenue while the independent revenue is projected to be Twenty Four Billion, three hundred and seventy four million, one hundred and seventy seven thousand, eight hundred and ninety six Naira only (N24,374,177,896) representing 26.02 percent.
In 2019, concerted efforts would be made to improve on our internally generated revenue. Some consultants have been engaged to restructure the revenue collection system in the state. It is our strong belief that these efforts would help us increase the internally generated revenue (IGR) significantly.
The Proposed Recurrent Expenditure for the year 2019 is Sixty-seven Billion,Eight hundred and thirteen Million,one hundred and one thousand, Two hundred and thirty Naira (N67,813,101,230) only as against sixty eight Billion, four hundred and eighty million, six hundred and eighty five thousand, seven hundred and seventy Naira only (N68,480,685,770) for the previous year which represents a decrease of 1.00 Percent. The details of the recurrent expenditure indicates that the personnel cost is Thirty three billion, fifty four million, fourty two thousand, two hundred and sixty eight Naira Only (N33, 054,042,268) while the overhead cost is Seventeen Billion, three hundred and sixty four million, seven hundred and thirty one thousand, nine hundred and sixty two Naira only (N17, 364,731,962) and the consolidated Revenue fund charges (CRFC) is Seventeen Billion, three hundred and ninety four million, three hundred and twenty seven thousand Naira Only (17,394,327,000).
Mr. Speaker and Honourable members, the estimated capital expenditure in 2019 is Seventy One Billion, seven hundred and twenty eight million, eight hundred and ninety eight thousand, Naira Only (N71, 728,898,000). This represents 51.4 percent of the total budget. The capital expenditure is the real investment expenditure. It is the component of the budget that drives our economic growth and development programme. The Summary of the capital expenditure according to sectoral allocation is as follows:-
Administrative Sector – N7,086,700,000
Economic Sector – N47,025,798,770
Law and Justice – N688,000,000
Social Sector – N16,928,400,000
In 2019, we shall be resolute in governance to deepen the achievements recorded since the inception of this Administration. We shall modernize and strengthen our institutions to be more efficient in delivery of service to the people of the state. We shall endeavour to maintain a public service that has capacity and is committed to rendering honest, prompt and efficient services to our people.
In order to enhance our internal revenue, we shall develop the informal sector to bring in more people into the tax net. The importance of communication and information cannot be over stated. Therefore, in 2019, we shall complete the hooking of Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State (BCA) Station to the National grid. The BCA station will be repositioned to manage extended Broadcast hours on their two channels. This will enable them reach wider coverage in discharging their mandates.
The role of Agriculture in our society is immeasurable. Majority of our rural communities depend on proceeds from their farm as the only means of livelihood. Therefore, we shall embark on implementation of initiatives that would enhance massive production of food and cash crops in our state.
In the 2019 fiscal year, our effort would be directed towards the completion of all on going road projects as well as provision of other new critical Infrastructure that would stimulate economic growth of the State. We will also intensify efforts to promote and realize the Enyimba Economic City project in conjunction with our private partners while putting pressure on the Federal Government to resume work at our Dry Port at Isialangwa.
Since inception of this Administration, we have demonstrated undisputable commitment towards providing qualitative healthcare, education and women/youth empowerment. The Government policies and programmes in 2019 will continue to actively and strategically align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The value of Education is immeasurable. Therefore, this Administration will sustain the on-going free basic education from Primary to Junior Secondary School. We shall continue to rehabilitate and renovate dilapidated school buildings adopting the whole school development approach. The up-grading of Six (6) public secondary schools Two (2) in each of the education zone to model and science schools will be pursued. We shall continue to build the capacity of the teachers through continuous training and retraining. Our policies in Education so far have raised the enrolment in public primary schools. Thus, the school lunch programme in the state will be sustained.
This Administration will continue to support and corporate with our state owned tertiary institutions to ensure that they maintain their track-record of excellence.
This Administration realizes the inevitable significance of women, youths and children in the society. Efforts will be made to create employable opportunities to women in the informal sector through skill acquisition. 
The Youths will be encouraged to form cooperative societies to enable them have access to skill acquisition and entrepreneurial development funds.
In 2019, we shall continue to collaborate with Development partners such as UNFPA, UNICEF and other non-governmental organizations in implementing gender programmes.
In 2019, this Administration would endeavour to secure environmental protection and ensure sustainability of proper waste management systems in Urban and Semi-Urban Areas. The ecological challenges especially that of soil erosion is a real threat to some part of our environment. We shall address them. The State Government would collaborate with other Federal and International Agencies to reclaim and rehabilitate gully sites in the State.
Mr. Speaker, Honorable members, the Estimates before you is a multi-year perspective budget which is aimed at achieving the following outcomes:-
• More resources from Independent Revenue (IGR) to fund projects/programmes.
• Strong and effective institutions for improved service delivery.
• Healthy, better educated and productive citizens.
• Increase in private sector investment that would create more job opportunities.
• Availability of critical social infrastructure for the well-being of the people.
Mr. Speaker, Honorable members, may I use this opportunity to let you know that this Estimate was put together after elaborate performance review and fiscal analysis of the State to identify our strength and weaknesses. Based on this, we have decided to priorities our identified needs within the limit of the resources at our disposal. We shall all endeavour to be prudent in the Management of the resources available to enable us realize our noble objectives.
As is our tradition, further details of this budget will be made available by the Honorable Commissioner for Finance.
Mr. Speaker, the challenges ahead in the coming year requires that all of us must work together assiduously to deliver on our promises and commitments. This House has been an admirable partner in the attainment of our corporate objectives and I have no doubt that we will do even more in 2019. I once more thank you immensely and indeed all Abians for your support and understanding as I lay the Abia State 2019 Appropriation Bill before you for your expeditious consideration and passage.
Thank you and May God continue to bless Abia State.