As Kaduna state government presented the 2020 budget to the State House of Assembly, ABDULRAHEEM AODU writes on the budget’s targets and sundry issues therein.
The N257.9bn proposal
The Acting Governor of Kaduna state, Hajiya Hadiza Balarabe recently presented a proposed budget of N257.9 billion to Kaduna State House of Assembly for 2020 fiscal year made up of recurrent expenditure of N67.87 billion and capital expenditure of N190 billion.
The budget, tagged budget of progressive renewal, allocates 40.29% to social sector with N64.64 billion (25.07%) proposed for education, N39.61 billion (15.36%) for health and N66.34 billion (25.72%) for infrastructural development.
What is new?
The budget, which is 65.5% increase from the N155.8 billion budgeted for 2019, has a huge ratio 73.7% capital expenditure to 26.3% recurrent expenditure. This is in line with government’s plan to complete all its priority projects, according to the Acting Governor, who represented Governor Nasir el-Rufai.
She told the Kaduna State House of Assembly that, “the size of the proposed 2020 Budget is N257.9bn. The capital component is N190.03bn, with recurrent expenses set at N67.87bn, the 2020 budget, when approved, is projected to have a record capital to recurrent ratio of 73.7% to 26.3%.
“Most of the capital spending will be in the economic and social sectors. Education, health and infrastructure have capital allocations amounting to about N140bn, more than 73% of the proposed capital budget. Capital spending on education is N44.9bn, health is N30.29bn and public works and infrastructure is N64.9bn.”
Gains so far
Addressing the lawmakers, Hajiya Hadiza listed some of the achievements of the el-Rufai administration since 2015 to include; “organised four successful economic summits that helped attract more than $500m of job-creating foreign and domestic investments into the state. We delivered the largest single foreign direct investment in the state through the $150 million Olam poultry project, making Kaduna the poultry hub of Northern Nigeria.
“We secured for Kaduna state the World Bank ranking as the number one place for ease of doing business in Nigeria from the 21st position out of 36 states and FCT in 2014.
“We initiated a free basic education regime in all our schools and prohibited the collection of even PTA levies by headmasters and principals, saving parents about N3 billion per annum; Implemented a primary school feeding programme, doubled primary school enrolment, and launched an extensive programme to renovate primary and junior secondary schools with furniture, water and sanitation facilities.
“We recruited 25,000 primary school teachers and also hired over 2,500 teachers of English, mathematics, science and ICT for our secondary schools. We introduced the use of 15,000 electronic tablets for learning with lessons, examination questions and answers loaded for pilot preparation for the SSCE examination in our girls’ secondary schools.
“We doubled internally generated revenue in the state from N11.9bn in 2015 to about N22bn in 2017 and on the way to doubling the 2017 revenues again by the end of this year.
“Implementing a comprehensive upgrade of 255 Primary Health Centres, with maternal and ante-natal care equipment and employment of healthcare personnel for them. Accelerated the rehabilitation and equipping of our general hospitals and comprehensive health centres. In collaboration with ABU Teaching Hospital, we brought the old Tudun Wada general hospital back into use for the benefit of the neighbouring communities.
“Completed the long-delayed Zaria Water Expansion Project that now supplies potable water to Zaria and Sabon Gari local governments. Water transmission and distribution pipelines are now being extended to neighbouring local government councils.
“On rural electrification, the administration purchased and installed many transformers, in addition, the state government successfully electrified Kajim-Mahuta-Randiyam communities in Kaura LGA.
“We have invested heavily to support federal security agencies in the state with vehicles, communications equipment and ordinance in the last four years.
“While challenges of banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping and armed robberies remain, we have been successful at containing ethno-religious crises through appropriate and proactive responses, and vigorous law enforcement. We established the Kaduna State Peace Commission which has been working to proactively promote peace in our diverse communities.”
Government stated that the thrust of the budget is urban renewal with education, health and infrastructure the fulcrums. Government is widening access to education across the state with its free education up to senior secondary school, completion of six science secondary schools.
The acting Governor said that government has identified a new main campus for the Kaduna State University in Rigachikun, Igabi local government, and four satellite campuses in Makarfi, Lere, Birnin Gwari and Kauru. “Work on the facilities to enable relocation to the main campus will start during this budget year”.
She said government intended to complete the 300- bed specialist hospital at Millennium City, accelerate the rehabilitation and equipping of its general hospitals and 255 primary health centres. “We are constructing 443km of township roads and 16 intercity roads with a distance of 414.8km.
“Our investments in modern technology to assist security agencies, including the acquisition of RF trackers, unmanned aerial vehicles, CCTV installations and forensic laboratory continue. On completion during 2020, these technologies will help ensure that criminals will have no hiding place in Kaduna state.”
The state government has pledged to commence contributory health scheme next year for its workers, while furthering plan to extend the Zaria waterworks to five other local governments Soba, Makarfi, Kubau, Kudan and Ikara.
Funding the budget
Though the budget promised so much capital projects, funding may hamper its execution.
Explaining how the budget will be funded, the acting governor said that the budget will be funded through, opening balance N23bn, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) N43.75bn, statutory allocation N53.824bn, recurrent budget surplus N52.697bn, Value Added Tax (VAT) N18.012bn, Internal Loans and Credit N3.5bn, Internal Grants N63.110bn, External Loans N45.473bn, External Grants N6.238bn and Sales of Government Assets N1bn”.
Kaduna state government has since inception of this administration in 2015 stated its plan to embark on massive development of the education, health and infrastructure sectors. Critics are wondering how government would realise the N190.031 billion income to service the budget without recourse to borrowing.
While many schools are wearing new look with adequate furniture and teaching materials, a good number of them, especially those located outside urban settlements still have pupils and students sitting on the floor to learn, while modern teaching facilities like white board are lacking in some of the schools.
Also, of the 255 primary healthcare centers to be rebuilt and equipped, less than 200 of them have been completed across the state. They all need to be completed and functional for government to fully address maternal and child mortality in the state.
Governor el-Rufai on assumption of office promised to build a ring road around Kaduna city, and a train network to ease intra and inter city transportation but all these remain a promise for now. Critics are won’t to say that the Governor is high in ideas but low in implementation.
Though government have been proactive in addressing ethno-religious crisis, the state has become prone to banditry, kidnapping and other such crimes with the major corridors leading out of the state, mainly the Kaduna-Abuja highway, the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari road and lately Kaduna -Zaria and Kaduna – Kachia roads all becoming targets for kidnappers and bandits.
Government would need to up it’s security spending to drastically reduce the challenge of these criminals.
Kaduna Assembly assured of quick passage
The Speaker, Kaduna State House of Assembly, Hon. Aminu Abdullahi Shagali has assured the state government of the lawmakers’ support, adding that the Members will ensure that the 2020 budget is passed within a short while and that the budget deliver on its promise.
“Kaduna State House of Assembly is solidly behind and in support of this administration. We will request for input and public awareness from the people to pas the law. We will work hard to ensure that the budget is passed in quick time.”