Kwara Gov presents N162bn budget of ‘reconstruction’

Tunde Akanbi, Ilorin

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The Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Wednesday presented the 2020 budget estimates to the State House of Assembly, with provisions for critical infrastructure and human capital development taking the larger chunk of the budget.

The N162bn fiscal plan comprises 53% capital expenditure covering road construction and rehabilitation, rehabilitation and re-equipment of schools and hospitals, rehabilitation of court rooms, and completion of a 500-seater hall building at the House of Assembly, according to AbdulRazaq.

“Basically, we are presenting a budget estimate of N162billion for 2020, up from N157bn budget of the outgoing year. For this year, we propose 47% recurrent expenditure and 53% capital expenditure in a deliberate attempt to invest in the future and grow the economy through critical infrastructure and human capital development. One unique thing is that this budget is having an opening balance of N7bn, or 4.3% of the budget proposal, that we have saved in the past seven months,” the Governor said in a speech before the Assembly.

“Key highlights of the budget include construction of Kwara State innovation hub for information technology, large scale garment production factories, resuscitation of moribund industries, construction of new (urban and rural) roads, rehabilitation of public schools, capacity building for teachers for efficient service delivery, payment of UBEC contribution, rehabilitation of hospitals and health centres with provision of modern medical and laboratory equipment, payment of counterpart funds, and implementation of health insurance.

“We are also proposing construction of Ilorin Civic Centre (Ilorin Visual Art Centre), purchase of biometric finger prints and reader machines for e-auditing, commencement of e-Government, introduction of creative intervention fund for youth and graduates empowerment, provision of statewide irrigation scheme, agricultural mechanisation, commencement of the livestock transformation plan programme, and implementation of the Kwara State Social Investment Programme.”

He also proposed the purchase of vehicle for political office holders and Honourable members of the House, rehabilitation of Squash Court rooms and other sporting facilities at Stadium Complex Ilorin, construction of a twin Squash Court, interventions in the state-owned media, and active promotion of culture and tourism.

The governor said there is a plan to widen the state’s tax base without imposing new tax on the people but through blocking of leakages.

AbdulRazaq commended members of the Assembly and the Kwara public for their support since he assumed office, calling for more support and sacrifice in the new year in the strategic interest of the state.

“I also want to call on our compatriots that while we are ready to serve them to the best of our ability and within available resources, the situation of our state is such that all hands must be on deck to make all the necessary sacrifices and stay the course in our collective efforts to build a new Kwara that works for all. However, we must be clear that we cannot build a new state where things work with the same mindset and attitude that brought us to this sorry pass. I therefore call on us, leaders and the governed, to tighten our belt for the overall good of our state,” he added.

The Governor said the budget estimates are predicted on the national oil price benchmark of $57 per barrel; oil production estimate of 2.18m barrels per day; official exchange rate of N305 per US dollar; Gross Domestic rate of 2.93 percent; and inflation rate of 10.81 per cent.

He added that the budget estimates match the exact revenue projections for the state in the fiscal year, including N48,943,215,564, or 30.2 percent of the total revenue; VAT receipt of N16,430,807,482, or 10.1 percent of the total revenue; other sundry revenue valued at N3, 838,863,505, or 2.3.percent of revenue; Internally Generated Revenue of N39, 783,008,301, or 24.5.percent of the revenue; income from other sundry internal sources valued at N193,322,646, or 0.1 percent; capital development fund/aid and grants put at N45,871, 444,487, or 28.3 percent; and an opening balance of N7bn, or 4.3 percent of the revenue projections.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Engineer Yakubu Danladi Salihu, has assured that the budget proposal would be accorded accelerated passage.

In an interview with newsmen shortly after the financial document was laid, the Speaker however, said the budget would be thoroughly scrutinized before the passage.

He said it was against the tradition of the state House of Assembly to pad budget, assuring that the House would monitor the executive on implementation.

Omolayo. A