The Acting Governor of Kaduna State, Hadiza Balarabe, has presented N257.8 billion as the state’s 2020 proposed budget, with capital and recurrent expenditures put at N190.03 billion and N67.9 billion respectively.
While presenting the budget to the State House of Assembly on Tuesday in Kaduna, Mrs Balarabe gave a breakdown of the 2020 budget estimate according to sectoral allocations.
According to the acting governor, the state’s economic sub sector which, includes agriculture, businesses innovation and technology, housing and urban development, public works and infrastructure, has been allocated N80.6 billion.
Mrs Balarabe said N27.9 billion was earmarked for general administration, N76.5 billion for social sector, while regional sub sector comprising environment, natural resources and water accounted for N4.8 billion
The acting governor emphasised that the 2020 budget estimate placed premium on human capital development and physical infrastructure.
She reiterated the administration’s commitment to expand access to education, saying from 2020, education in the state is free and compulsory from primary to secondary or technical/ vocational education level.
Mrs Balarabe also explained that prior to 2020, all children were provided nine-year free education with the exception of the girl-child who was granted free education to the completion of secondary education.
“To improve health outcome for our people, we shall continue upgrade of the primary health care system by bringing in more equipment, ensuring standard furnishings for all facilities.
“We shall also expand the coverage of immunisation and other health promotion and disease prevention programmes”, the acting governor said.
Mrs Balarabe also said government would employ health professionals and work towards reducing infant and maternal mortality in the state.
The acting governor further stated that the ongoing urban renewal projects demonstrated that government considered infrastructure as critical to citizens’ welfare, the competitiveness of the state and its economic development.
On the budget’s size, Mrs Balarabe said the budget was emphatic on fiscal realism, which according to her, limited itself strictly to realisable revenues.
“The key fiscal targets of 2020 estimate are: Funding to conclusion of priority ongoing projects and reducing the backlog of inherited liabilities; maintaining a favourable proportion of capital and recurrent expenditure and expanding the revenue generation capacity of the state,” the acting governor explained.
She disclosed that government will remain vigilant about the integrity of the payroll to ensure that personnel costs are spent solely on genuine workers.
According to her, continuous biometric verification would be carried out on all public servants in all arms of government to remove ghost workers and those with fake certificates.
“In addition, the Ministry of Finance will issue debit cards to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of overhead and eliminate the risk of money laundering and waste,” she said.
In line with the government’s monetisation policy, she said aside judges of High Court and the governor and his deputy that must be provided housing in kind, no other public officer is entitled to government quarters under the current guidelines on the sales of all non-essential residential houses of the state government.
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“The policy has led to reduction of maintenance cost while encouraging home ownership.
“The policy was complemented and supported with the robust mortgage system that has made available about N4 billion for citizens of Kaduna State to grow upon so that they can own homes rather than just rent,” the acting governor said.
She assured the lawmakers that government will therefore not return to the inefficient practice of building and maintaining thousands of residential houses for a few privileged public servants.
According to her, the government will go ahead to complete the sales of the essential residential quarters.
Receiving the budget, the Speaker, Aminu Shagali, said the budget presentation marks another critical milestone in the ongoing transformation in the state.
“The State Assembly is focused and will continue to support the present administration to achieve its developmental goals.
“We are aware that the major source of the state’s revenue comes from the Federation Accounts, but with efforts already put in place by government through various reforms introduced, we can proudly say that government has done well in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).”
He, therefore, called on all Kaduna citizens to give their support by paying their tax to government in good time.
According to him, having a strong IGR base saves government from the problem of seeking high interest rate loans from International financial institutions and banks.
The event was witnessed by senior government officials and other stakeholders.