The Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative (BBYDI) has asked the Kwara State Government to provide clarifications on some items in its proposed 2021 Budget.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq presented the fiscal proposal for the Year 2021 before the state House of Assembly late last year.
In the proposed 123 billion naira budget, Mr AbdulRazaq said the state prioritised minimum wage, cash-backed promotion for workers who passed the recent examination, tech-driven reforms in the education sector and other social investments.
“The 2021 fiscal plan is built on the modest successes of the outgoing year, with strategic emphasis on reforms and inclusive growth. However, its fundamentals are dictated by the global economic realities, low revenue projections, and a need to prioritise basic needs of the people as we recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19,” he said.
However, in a statement signed by BBYDI’s Executive Director, Abideen Olasupo, the group called on the State government to justify the N400million it earmarked for ‘Financial Consulting’ contained on page 549 under Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, noting that it raised similar concern in 2020 when it said the amount budgeted for financial consulting was high.
“While we sincerely appreciate the State government for addressing some of our observations last year, we would want the government to, in the spirit of transparency and accountability, make clarifications on some line items in the proposed 2021 Appropriation Bill.”
It also asked the government to provide explanation on its proposed N200million spending for ‘Publicity and Advert’, contained on page 182 of the 2021 budget estimates.
The BBYDI also raised concern on the N50million vote for ‘General Office’ in the proposed budget, stressing that it is an entirely new budget line item as it was not included in the 2019 and 2020 budgets of the State.
“We would like to know what the government mean by “General Office” which it budgeted the sum of N50M for under the budget for Office of the Governor. We noticed this is an entirely new budget line item. It was not in 2019 and 2020 budget estimates. It was introduced during the revised estimates for 2020. It is on page 182.
“Also, on page 551, under the Ministry of Finance budget with 022000100100, we observed that another N10m was allocated for ‘General Office’. We demand explanation on what this vote is for,” the group said.
The group also said it noticed that the government did not make any budgetary allocation for the new national minimum wage for workers and the State Independent Electoral Commission( KWASIEC,)which raises doubt about government’s readiness to implement the minimum wage and also conduct local government elections this year.
BBYDI, however, expressed hope that the government would include votes for minimum wage and KWASIEC in its supplementary budget later on in the year.
It also demanded an explanation from the government on the N250million it earmarked for ‘KwaraPreneur’ which was included in the budget of Oke-Ero local government.
“Is the fund for entrepreneurs in Oke-Ero alone or for entire Kwara, and why was it included in Oke-Ero budget,” the group asked.
“We noticed an opening balance of 13,651,000,000 as at mid-December when the budget was presented before the House. We would like the government to explain the rationale behind it? We are of the view that the year was yet to end and the government might be wrong to assume the exact amount of the opening balance contained in Page 5, Number 1 Summary of Summaries.
“We will like to ask if the government has government-approved prices for budget assumption and how the price was arrived at as we noticed some over-bloated figures that require clarifications. This is needed to minimize wastage.
“We demand clarification on line item 021500100100 which earmarked N50Million to Oke Ero for ‘State Economic Master Plan Development’ aside another allocation made for the same purpose on page 537 with 022000100100 under Ilorin South. It gulped N80million in 2020 and a whopping 57.5Million budgeted for it again – Page 553.
“Under Expenditure (GEO), we demand for the indices and justification employed in allocation of budgetary provision for LGAs. Was it population, IGR, economic contribution? We also noticed with great concern that the budget for Oke Ero (12.042,164,058) and Ilorin West (12,310,888,185) is more than the whole budget for a Senatorial District “Kwara North”
“We also noticed that budget line item with 052100100100 earmarking N339.6M for Oke Ero and 052100100100 N750M for Offa. This line item requires further breakdown and clarification. This is contained under Ministry of Health budget on Page 733.”
However, when contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, declined comments on the concerns raised, restating that it is a proposal under review by the legislative arm.
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