Seyi Makinde faults Oyo 2017 budget, says revenue target ‘unrealistic’

Seyi Makinde
Seyi Makinde

A chieftain of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has said that the state’s 2017 budget lacks developmental propositions.

According to a statement released Tuesday, Mr. Makinde said that the budget could be more ambitious and realistic with the needs of citizens of the state right at its heart. He also berated the revenue target set by the government, describing it as ‘unrealistic’.

Commenting on the N126.8 billion budgeted for recurrent expenditure, Mr. Makinde said that only investment in education and health should have warranted such proposition.

He added that the implication of budgeting such fund for recurrent expenditure which, according to him, is almost double of the 2015 figures, is that the state exhibits limited developmental philosophy of governance.

“Looking at the recurrent expenditure, as an example, the government is proposing to spend N126.8bn in 2017, which is almost double the 2015 figures at N65.4bn. Our conviction is that only substantial investment in education and health should have warranted such increments.

“These are not the case, as there is no evidenced proposal to increase the numbers of teachers and healthcare workers. Proposing to spend approximately 61 per cent of the budget on recurrent expenditure is the lowest point of any government, especially when we examine other states such
as Lagos and Sokoto – that are proposing 37 per cent and 31 per cent respectively,” the politician said.

“What this means for us in Oyo state is that whilst other states are prioritising capital projects, we are increasing our appetite for recurrent expenditure, thereby exhibiting limited developmental
philosophy of governance – 62 per cent was approved for recurrent expenditure in 2015 while 58 per cent was approved in 2016.”

The former governorship aspirant of the SDP in the state, however, said that the Oyo State government needs to manage public funds in a manner that brings better returns to the taxpayers in the form of quality public services alongside an enabling environment for work and commerce, so that citizens can pay their taxes with limited prompt.

Commenting on the revenue target set by the state government as contained in the 2017 budget, Mr. Makinde said the plan is ‘unrealistic’. He explained that it will only compound the woes of the
citizens and create avenue for highhandedness.

“Our team is also concerned by the unrealistic revenue target which if not well managed will compound the woes of our people. The government has set a target of N107.23bn target for IGR. The amount generated in 2015 was N13.7bn while N16.6bn was generated in 2016, according to
government records.

“The decision therefore to aggressively pursue IGR, with particular focus on the informal sector appear unrealistic and will definitely create avenues for highhandedness.”

Mr. Makinde also berated the Oyo State government for its failure to identify key development potentials in the state, adding that the development reflects a weak link between futuristic outlook and budgeting.

“Credible information available to my team and I indicate that the government of the day has not identified some key latent development potentials of Oyo State. We know that the world is now being built on knowledge economy and it is a baffle that Oyo State has no policy on this despite having one of the highest concentrations of research centres and higher institutions in Nigeria.

“This reflects a weak link between policy, futuristic outlook and budgeting. We would have preferred the budget to set out a clear set of what the priorities and focus would be in areas such as job creation, infrastructure development, education, health and commerce whilst it attempts to increase capital spend to approximately 50 per cent.”

The SDP chieftain, however, called on Oyo State residents to pay more attention to government budgets, adding their desired future begins with a well thought-out budget.

“Our advice to the people of Oyo State is to pay attention to government budgets as they serve as one of the most important tool for accountability. From its budget, one can evaluate how effective a
government is, as budgeting should represent an unprecedented cooperative effort by several stakeholders with diverse interests to agree and examine the key focus of government,” the statement said.

“Our desired future in Oyo State starts with well thought-out budget, one that is developmental, engaging and holistic.”

But in its reaction, the Oyo State government flayed Mr. Makinde’s position, stressing that the budget was designed with clearly articulated investment and infrastructural development goals.

In an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the Special Adviser to the Oyo State Governor on Communication and Strategy, Yomi Layinka, said the revenue projection was guided by carefully modulated factors.

“Everyone has his or her right to express an opinion on issues, even when they lack the requisite knowledge and experience on the subject matter.

“Any discerning reviewer of the OYSG 2017 Budget would have seen the carefully modulated factors that guided the revenue projections as well as the clearly articulated investment and infrastructural
development goals for the year.”

Mr. Layinka however added that the issue of whether the budget serves the people’s interest or not should be left for Oyo residents to judge.

“In any case, the people whose mandate we represent are in the better position to judge whether or not the budget serves their best interests,” he said.


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