Footnotes from Gombe’s budget of restoration

The governor of Gombe state, Ibrahim Dankwambo, has explained that the focus and policy thrust of this year’s budget were anchored largely on the need to sustain the current tempo of capital projects execution using the state’s development planning tools and documents, including 2011-2015 Action Plan, Vision 20-20-20 and Sectoral Plans all as a guide. IBRAHIM M JIRGI writes

On December 27, 2013, Governor Ibrahim Dakwambo presented a budget of N107.4 billion estimate, made up of N43.5 billion recurrent expenditure and N63.8 billion capital expenditure.

While addressing the state House of Assembly, he also stated that there are plans in this year’s budget to initiate new projects and programmes that are critical to the development process of the state in addition to putting in place a robust feedback system that would indicate the progress the government is making towards improving the quality of lives of the citizenry.

Governor Dankwambo also promised that special attention would be paid to investment in education and other infrastructural sectors. Poverty reduction initiatives, employment generation and wealth creation would also be strengthened just as the state’s huge agricultural potentials for food security would be well harnessed.

The government also intends to enhance access to quality health care services, housing and micro-credit besides its plans to promote gender equality as well as women and youth empowerment. It was captured in the budget to continue to provide physical infrastructure, such as roads, electricity and water, which constitute the bedrock for attracting investors and reducing rural-urban drift.

Orphans, physically challenged and the less privileged would be given due attention just as public private partnership and the role of the small and medium scale enterprises would also be strengthened. There are many good things coming for people of Gombe State as copiously contained in this year’s budget.

The governor said he inherited a mortgaged state with the poor condition of education, infrastructure, healthcare services, water and sanitation as well as high level of youth restiveness, unemployment and poverty. A total of N790 million, for example, has been earmarked in this year’s budget to stimulate trade, investment and industrialization of the state.

The state’s partnership with the Bank of Industry is yielding result as 133 cooperative societies benefited from the first phase of the scheme, which created about 13,000 jobs. Through this programme, about 755 trainees, who received skills acquisition training, have become self-employed in addition to about 133 agro-allied and mineral sector industries that have been established.

Other efforts made include the establishment of industrial clusters for the groundnut oil and rice millers at Bogo-Nassarawo industrial estate with three transformers installed to boost power supply. A proposal for the establishment of a 400-hectare industrial estate that can house 200 industries is at an advanced stage just as establishment of a commodity market and exchange centre and the Gombe inland container freight station are ongoing.

The state is now taking the advantage of the Second North East Economic Summit that was convened last year in line with the resolve of the six states in the region to come together and chart a deliberate course for its development through pooling of their energies and resources, as it strives to put in place concrete efforts to sustain the initiative by implementing all resolutions of the summit.

Equally, Governor Dankwambo signifies his intention this fiscal year to continue to strengthen all development cooperation initiatives with the state’s development partners by paying its counterpart contributions and other obligations. This would certainly enable the state to track the inflow of development resources to the state and to appreciate them accordingly.
And, the same goes with all development finance matters from its international development finance agencies, which are to be properly managed through the state ministry of finance.

The administration believes in budget discipline as the state ministry of finance has been mandated to continue to initiate financial management innovations like the envelop budgeting system, the medium term expenditure framework and fiscal strategy papers, as well as, the migration to the international public sector accounting standards to achieve success.

And, on revenue generation and investment climate, Dankwambo administration remains committed to creating improved alternative sources of funds in order reverse the state’s dependence on the federal allocation.  It is in this regard, therefore, that the government is now restructuring the state’s Investment and Property Development Company and its board of internal revenue to meet up with the challenges of the investment climate.

So in no distant future Gombe would remain one of the safest states for investors in the country as the administration would continue to provide the enabling environment for all categories of investors.

It is believed that all government goals and objectives could not be achieved without a reinvigorated and vibrant civil service. It is in this light, therefore, efforts are being made always meet the needs of the state’s civil service within available resources. Offices are being renovated, working materials, logistics and capacity building for all categories of workers are all provided.

There was also a deliberate effort to implement recommendations of the Sectoral Committee on the Civil Service; and this informed the recruitment of staff to fill the uncomfortable gap created due to long years of embargo on employment.

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