Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, yesterday signed the 2017 appropriation bill, also known as the budget of consolidation and prosperity.
This came as he also signed the Pension Bill, which will organise the implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme.
Signing the bill before the Speaker of the House of Assembly and other principal officers of the Assembly in Government House, Benin City, Governor Obaseki thanked the legislators for the speed and diligence with which they worked on and passed both bills.
Meanwhile, he also recounted the importance and origin of the Budget as well as the care and consideration that was devoted to formulating it.
He said, “As you recall, last year, before Christmas, I presented this bill to you for consideration. We were very clear when we were putting this bill together that there were certain key principles and budget policies, which we showed will lead to significant change in our economy”.
He also mentioned that the government was keen, while formulating the budget, to appropriate money to reform the civil service and he expressed gratitude to the House of Assembly for retaining virtually all that was asked for in the budget.
Continuing, the governor assured that based on the budget, an ad hoc committee had been set up, which had been able to source land in excess of 2500 hectares (a figure which may rise to 5000 hectares) to produce about 500 ‘agripreneurs’ in the state.
In addition, the governor expressed commitment towards solving the pension problem in the state.
“If you recall the electioneering process,” he said, “I know we promised that by God’s grace, at the end of four years, we would have substantially resolved, if not totally eliminated all the pension arrears that we have”.
Furthermore, Governor Obaseki revealed that his government had even commenced implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme since January and that with the signing of the Pension Bill, what was left was to start settling arrears.