By Ismaila Uba Misilli
Traditionally and historically, presentation of budgets evolved from the premise of having to allow scrutiny of the resources raised by government and the uses to which these will be put. The publication or public presentation of a budget thus performs the role of generating accountability for the actions of government at various levels.
A budget presentation therefore should not be seen as a mere governmental annual ritual but rather as an avenue by the governed to have an insightful participation into the art of governance. A budgetary allocation has been developed as a framework within which complex decisions on the allocation of resources can be made more effectively.
The budget presentation is thus a compliance with section 121 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which provides that the Governor shall cause to be prepared and laid before the House of Assembly at any time before the commencement of each financial year estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the state for the next following financial year.
In the light of the above, the recent presentation of Gombe State 2022 budget by Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya is an attestation of the government of Gombe State’s character to run an open and easy to follow administration.
Before the presentation to the State House of Assembly, a townhall meeting on budget preparation was held with traditional rulers, community leaders, trade unions and non- governmental organisations to harness their inputs in order to ensure an all-inclusive budgeting process. Also, the draft was was subjected to further scrutiny by members of the state executive council at their sitting. These go to show that the Gombe 2022 budget is indeed the people’s budget that targets to consolidate the gains of the previous ones.
The overall budget performance of the last fiscal year as at 30th September, 2021 was 68.5%. This is to the credit of the fiscal exchequer of the state.
For the 2022 fiscal year, the sum of One Hundred and Fifty-Four Billion, Six Hundred and Ten Million, Six Hundred and Fourteen Thousand Naira (N154, 610,614,000.00) is proposed to be expended. The budget is made up of Sixty-Nine Billion, One Hundred and Seventeen Million, Two Hundred and Fourteen Thousand Naira (N69,117,214,000.00) for recurrent expenditure representing 44.7% of the total budget, and Eighty-Five Billion, Four Hundred and Ninety-Three Million, Four Hundred Thousand Naira (N85,493,400,000.00) for capital expenditure which represents 55.3% of the budget sum.
The 2022 budget draws heavily on the aspirations of the 10-year Development Agenda evolved by the Inuwa Yahaya’s administration, the first of such in the 25 year history of the State. The development Agenda, DEVAGOM for short is anchored on five strategic pillars namely; Governance and Administration, Social development, Economic Development, Infrastructural Development and Sustainable Environment.
This budget is envisaged to be financed by an estimated recurrent revenue of Seventy-Three Billion, Six Hundred and Twenty-Six Million, Seven Hundred and Eighty-Nine Thousand Naira (N73,626,789,000.00) and capital receipts of Seventy-Nine Billion, Eight Hundred and Sixty-Five Million Naira (N79,865,000,000.00) and an estimated closing balance of Four Billion, Eight Hundred and Eighty-One Million, One Hundred and Seventy-Five Thousand Naira (N4,881,175,000.00)
The budget places emphasis on sectorial developments of catalytic areas that will rev up the 10-year Development Agenda of the State. Hence the 2022 fiscal year, places priority in strengthening the Agricultural value-chain by boosting Small, Medium and Large-Scale agricultural processing in the State. To fund activities in this sector with the sum of Two Billion, Seven Hundred and Twenty-Three Million Naira (N2, 723,000,000.00).
Since agriculture and Rural, Community Development and Cooperatives go hand in hand; a budgetary provision of interventions to improve the quality of life in rural communities in the sum of One Billion, Nine Hundred and Ninety-Five Million Naira (N1, 995,000,000.00) is earmarked for investment in this sub-sector.
One of the main drivers of industrialization of a state is the Trade, Industry and Tourism Sector. Gombe State is currently ranked number One in the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, there is a need to consolidate the gains in that area. In this regard, the sum of Ten Billion, Nine Hundred and Thirty Million Naira (N10,930,000,000.00) is earmarked for investment in this sector in order to deepen the efforts made so far.
Infrastructure no doubt, is a leading catalyst for growth as exemplified by the huge investments of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. Works and Infrastructure is a priority for Gombe State as well. For this, the sum of Twenty Billion, Nine Hundred and Ten Million Naira (N20, 910,000,000.00) is earmarked for this sub-sector. Governor Inuwa yahya has given a fresh icing on the cake of his 10-year development Agenda by giving given approval for the preparation of a 30-year Gombe State Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (GSIIP). The document will guide the infrastructure plans and implementation.
There is still an urgent need to tackle the dilapidation of the State’s infrastructure stock and completion of abandoned projects. It is indeed noticeable by the administration’s scorecard that most of these projects have either been completed or are at various stages of completion since Inuwa Yahaya took over the administration of the State.
Housing and Urban Development also got a good chunk. In line with the administration’s vision to facilitate good urban planning and development in the state, the sum of Seven Billion, Four Million Naira (N7,004,000,000.00) is proposed for investment for the Housing and Urban Development sub-sector in the 2022 fiscal year.
Women Affairs and Social Development did not take a back seat. Inuwa Yahaya seeks to promote the relevance of women, children and other vulnerable groups in decision making and the implementation of relevant policies and programmes and has budgeted the sum of One Billion, Three Hundred and Thirty-Nine Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N1,339,500,000.00) for investment in 2022 fiscal year.
The budget is a continuation of the State’s transformational strategic thrust as contained in the Development Plan. The focus for the 2022 budget will include efforts towards: -(i) Increasing the State Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita;(ii) High quality healthcare system including food and nutrition security;(iii) Promoting the role of women in development; (iv) Protecting culture, heritage and shared values;(v) Strengthening our security infrastructure;(vi) Continued provision and modernization of infrastructure;(vii) Strengthening and creating new poverty reduction initiatives predicated on skills acquisition, job creation and reduced unemployment;(viii) Improved access to clean and safe water and sanitation;(ix) Provision of affordable housing;(x) Universal access to quality education;(xi) Promoting digital connectivity and rural electrification;(xii) Strengthening our internal revenue generation drive, ease of doing business and fiscal responsibility;(xiii) Strengthening development partnership; and (xiv) Protecting the Environment and mitigating climate change.
The effect of the COVID-19 on the world economy is still consequential and impacting negatively on the State revenues. In this regards, Gombe State has put in place several initiatives towards boosting internal revenue generation. Some of these actions include repositioning the Internal Revenue Service for improved performance, identification of new revenue sources, advocacy and sensitization of the populace on the need to pay their taxes.
After the budget had been laid bare to the honourable members of the Gombe State House of assembly for legislative scrutiny, it is to the credit of the a good synergy existing between the executive and the legislative arm of the Gombe state government that the Assembly members spoke with one voice in commendation of the timely presentation of the budget.
Education Sector; A concerted effort to reposition the education sector, has witnessed a heavy investment in infrastructural improvement, quality assurance, deliberate attention to science, technology, engineering and mathematics studies amongst other interventions in SUBEB and BESDA. Work is currently on-going to upgrade five secondary schools to Mega Schools with a capacity to accommodate not less than 3,000 students each. The sum of Two Billion, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Eight Million, Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N2,778,200,000.00) is earmarked for investment in education in the 2022 fiscal year.
And for Higher Education, Inuwa Yahaya administration’s promise of ensuring the growth and development of the Gombe State University, the College of Education Billiri, State Polytechnic, Bajoga and College of Legal and Islamic Studies Nafada, and the construction of a permanent site for the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Gombe is still in smart focus. The sum of Three Billion, One Hundred and Sixty-Two Million Naira (N3,162,000,000.00) is allocated in the 2022 fiscal year.
Looking at the Health Sector, although this administration has successfully revitalized 1 Primary Care Centre in each of the 114 wards of the state, upgraded the State Specialist Hospital in Gombe and established the Gombe State Hospital Services Management Board. Equally, it has embarked on the renovation of the Bajoga and Kaltungo General Hospitals, and the reconstruction of Kumo General Hospital, it plans to ensure that there is 1 functional General Hospital in each of the senatorial districts of the State. The sum of Six Billion, Twenty-Seven Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N6,027,500,000.00) is earmarked for investment in the 2022 fiscal year for improving access to quality healthcare services to the people of Gombe State.
Science, Technology and Innovation; Environment and Forestry; Water Resources; Internal Security and Ethical Orientation all get a good share of the budgetary allocations.
The legislative arm of Gombe state government appears pleased with the budget as signified by their response to the budget presentation.
“ We wish to assure Your Excellency that, by God’s grace, the budget will receive diligent and expeditious legislative scrutiny and passage to enable you continue to implement all the laudable developmental policies and programmes of your purposeful administration “. Rt. Hon. Abubakar Mohammed, Speaker Gombe State House of Assembly said.
The State House of Assembly members said that they are proud to be associated with Governor Yahaya’s laudable achievements. “We have every cause to be associated with you, because your prompt execution of Laws and Resolutions passed in our hallowed Chambers has extended the dividends of democracy to our Constituencies. The construction of rural roads, rural water supply and electrification, construction and renovation of Hospitals, schools and Health Centres have put on smiles on the faces of our rural dwellers”.
The Honourable Members added that the administration of Governor Yahaya’s commitment in the ongoing N16.4 billion Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park Project; the agreement with a Chinese Conglomerate Sinon International Engineering Company Ltd in partnership with Madugu Cement to establish a Five million metric tons Cement factory; provision of 144,000 hectares for Wawa-Zange Grazing Reserve that will be used as Pilot project for the National Livestock Transformation Programme and the signing of Memorandum of Understanding with Rift Oil and Petroleum Company on exploring maximum benefits from commercial discovery of Hydrocarbon in Kolmani Oilfield are commendable initiatives in boosting the status of Gombe state as hub of trade, commerce, industry and agriculture as well as creator of jobs and wealth not only in the Northeast but in the country in general is remarkably unprecedented in the history of Gombe State.
The lawmakers praised the giant strides of the Inuwa Yahaya led administration in all facets of development, saying that “it therefore did not come to us as surprise when the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council chaired by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo ranked Gombe State first in terms of ease of doing business in Nigeria and the recent acknowledgement of Gombe state as a role model in developing Basic Education by the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education. Your Excellency these are clear manifestation of your good governance”.
Scoring the budget performance of the passing year 2021 very high, the Assembly Members enthused that, “with this budget performance, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya is worthy of commendation not only from financial experts but also from the common man who has really felt the positive impact of the Budget implementation”.
They also noted that worthy of commendation is Inuwa Yahaya’s ability to achieve a lot within the lean resources of the state and in a short period after creating an atmosphere of peace. This act is said to be a clear testimony of Yahaya’s prudence in management of resources and the zeal to realize his dream – the dream of the founding fathers of Gombe State.
Inuwa Yahaya’s friendliness with the legislature did not go unnoticed by the Honourable Members. “Let me also acknowledge and appreciate your legislature-friendly posture manifested in the conducive legislative environment you have created for us in the House and most importantly your recent assent to the Finacial Autonomy Laws of the State Legislature and the Judiciary which has demonstrated your respect to the Constitution and commitment towards upholding the principle of separation of power. In fact, we thank you very much sir for this gesture”. The Speaker said.
The Honourable Members pledged to reciprocate the governor’s friendly posture by giving him all the required support through passage of people oriented legislations that are in compliance with his vision and mission of placing Gombe State at an enviable position in Nigeria.
After the ceremonial presentation of the budget, political and economic analysts have taken a cursory look at the financials and are quick to notice what the budgetary provisions portend for Gombe State as an entity and the citizens as end beneficiaries.
Loan financing is on the downward trend. From a total of N35,100,000,000.00 in 2019 has been reduced to N22,200,000,000.00 in the outgoing year. Capital expenditure N49,971,164,583.00 moved up to N71,046,953,900.00.This is a clear signal that infrastructure is getting due attention at the expense of recurring spending. Recurrent expenses moved from N66,204,152,208.00 to N59,781,783,900.00 in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
However, the 2022 recurrent expenditure stands at N69,117,214,000.00) representing 44.7% of the total budget, and Eighty-Five Billion, Four Hundred and Ninety-Three Million, Four Hundred Thousand Naira (N85,493,400,000.00) for capital expenditure which represents 55.3% of the budget sum. This sum signposts a development upward curve for the State.
Financial experts also surmised that the budget if pursued with focused fiscal determination and discipline is capable of moving Gombe State several miles forward in the pursuit of the 10-Year Development Agenda and consolidates the huge efforts made at making Gombe a modern state by the Inuwa Yahaya’s swift developmental pace.
Misilli is Director-General ( Press Affairs)
Government House, Gombe