Gov Sule’s Budget Of Hope And Resilience In Nasarawa

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It has become a tradition across  the world that at the end of every fiscal year, governments and even non-governmental organisations prepare budget estimates envisioning expected accruals for the incoming year. In Nasarawa State,  the presentation of the 2021 Appropriation bill to the State House of Assembly by the Governor, Engineer Abdullahi A. Sule,  on 17th November, 2020 ignites yet another hope of a sustained socio-economic and infrastructural development of the state.

This is coming especially at a time when the world and in particular, Nasarawa State is gradually emerging from social and economic setbacks occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor presented the 2021 budget proposal of N112. 92 billion to the state House of Assembly for consideration and approval.

Governor Sule, who tagged the budget as “Budget of Economic Recuperation” said that it was in compliance with section 121(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

According to the governor, his administration’s policy is anchored on transparency, accountability and prudence management of lean resources.

“The total expenditure outlay of the 2021 estimate is in the sum of One Hundred and Twelve Billion, Nine Hundred and Twenty-three Million, One Hundred and Seventy-four Thousand, Five Hundred and Forty-three Naira (N112, 923,174,543) only.

”A total of Fifty-one Billion, Fifty Million, Four Hundred and Fifty-six Thousand, Eight Hundred and Seventeen Naira (N51,050,456,817) only representing 45.21% of the budget is earmarked for Non-debt Recurrent Expenditure which consist of both personnel and overhead costs.

“The sum of Fifty-four billion, Eight Hundred and Fifty-four Million, Nine Hundred and Eighty-five Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety-five Naira (N54, 854,985,695) only representing 48.58% of the total budget is earmarked as Capital Expenditure for the year 2021.

“Similarly, the sum of Seven Billion, Seventeen Million, Seven Hundred and Thirty-two Thousand, Thirty-one Naira (N7, 017,732,031) has been allocated to Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges for debt servicing, pension and gratuity. This represents 6.21% of the total budget.

According to the governor, the budget framework shows an increase of N4,478,368,930) only over and above the Fiscal Year 2020 original budget estimate translating to 4.13% increase.

Gov Sule, gave an outline of the 2021 appropriation bill major sectoral allocation as follows- Infrastructure -N19.6 billion (17.36%), Education/Science & ICT-N35.4 billion (31.35%)Governance/Security & General Administration-N14.3 billion (12.66%),Legislation-N2.7 billion (2.39%),Law & Justice-N3.8 billion (3.37%), Finance/Investment/Trade-N5.7 billion (5.05%) and Health-N11.4 billion (10.10%).

The governor urged the members to give the budget speedy passage to enable the state government complete ongoing projects as well as executes other new developmental projects across the state.

Speaker of the Assembly, Ibrahim Balarabe-Abdullahi, who received the budget after Sule’s presentation, assured the state government of speedy passage of the budget for the overall development of the state.

Hitterto, the hope for a better and prosperous Nasarwa State was demonstrated by the governor, in the 2020 budget despite the outbreak of the pandemic, which led to the fall in global oil prices causing undue pressure on the administration’s ability to meet the developmental needs of the people as earlier projected.

However, the 2020 budget’s disruptions three months into its implementation leading  to its downward review from N108 billion to N62 billion, did not in anyway deter the commitment of the state government to provide the much needed dividends of democracy to the people.

But going forward, economic experts and analysts say the 2021 Appropriation bill of N112 billion presented to the State House of Assembly, for consideration and subsequent passage into law, indicates a paradigm shift from years of recurrent-centred budget to capital based budget especially when taking into account  sectoral allocations contained in the budget estimate.

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For instance the 2021 budget shows that “A total of Fifty-one Billion, Fifty Million, Four Hundred and Fifty-six Thousand, Eight Hundred and Seventeen Naira (N51,050,456,817) only representing 45.21% of the budget is earmarked for Non-debt Recurrent Expenditure which consist of both personnel and overhead costs.

“The sum of Fifty-four billion, Eight Hundred and Fifty-four Million, Nine Hundred and Eighty-five Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety-five Naira (N54, 854,985,695) only representing 48.58% of the total budget is earmarked as Capital Expenditure for the year 2021.

This glaring and undisputed gap between the recurrent and capital expenditure is consequent upon the enormous developmental challenges confronting the state in virtually all sectors, which range  from the economic, social, general administration, as well as law and justice.

Little wonder that the governor, while presenting the 2021 appropriations  bill to the lawmakers said that the focus of his administration in 2021 fiscal year would be but not limited to the following areas: Physical infrastructure, human capital development, education, strengthening and implementing social protection policies for vulnerable groups, poverty reduction and job creation, especially for the youth.

Other areas enumerated by the governor include partnership trust, strengthening the health care system through renovation, remodeling, construction and equipping of health facilities, provision of skilled human resources and the implementation of the Universal Health Coverage through the recently established State Health Insurance Agency.

Agricultural development, rural and urban transformation initiatives, industrialization, promoting the ease of doing business, enhance internal revenue generation, entrenching fiscal responsibility and transparency, security and addressing environmental challenges are some other priority areas contain in the budget estimate.

These areas of concern by the governor, are by no less a comprehensive coverage of a holistic physical and human capital development of the state. This was perhaps the more reason why the sectoral allocations in the 2021 budget estimate leaves no one in doubt of the political will and sheer determination of the governor to transform the state and make it a model.

A classical pointer to this sheer political commitment to fulfilling promises made to the people during electioneering campaigns is  the allocation of billions of naira for works and infrastructure sector to bring to fruition the flagship project, which seeks to build network of roads across the three Senatorial zones of the state.

Other sectors, which got priority attention in the 2021 budget include water resources, housing and urban development, environment and forestry, education, health,  science and technology, ICT, youth and sports, information  and culture, general  administration, as well as women affairs among others.

Each of these sectors got its budgetary allocation depending on priority needs of the sector and expected deliverables to the welfare and wellbeing of the people of the state.

While presenting the budget, the governor said, “The Right Honourable Speaker, Distinguished Members, let me re-emphasize that the principles of transparency and accountability  will continue to be our watchword. We shall continue to pursue standards and ensure  judicious management of Government  resources”

” I wish to reiterate that the attainment of our development objectives contained in this  Budget rest squarely on our continuous commitment, dedication, sacrifice and enduring partnership. I must acknowledge  that what we have been able to achieve so far was as a result of the support and the abiding faith which the Honourable Members have in us. We shall continue to cherish this trust and partnership in our collective service to the people of Nasarawa State” Sule said.

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