By Boluwaji Obahopo & John Mkom
Jalingo—Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State, yesterday, presented N110,168,983,942 appropria-tion bill for 2017 to the state House of Assembly.
However, aggrieved civil servants, on the platform of Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, JPSNC, shut the state secretariat in Jalingo to protest non-payment of their salaries.
The protesting workers, including staff of Taraba Motel, equally barricaded all roads leading to the state House of Assembly, where Governor Darius Ishaku was supposed to pass through to the Assembly, thereby delaying the budget presentation for hours.
Meanwhile, in Lokoja, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State also, yesterday, presented to the state House of Assembly a budget of N174,851,544,523 for 2017 fiscal year.
The budget, tagged Budget of New Direction, has N58,531,-404,254, representing 33.47 percent, as recurrent expendi-ture, while N116,320,140,269, representing 66.53 percent, is for capital expenditure.
Speaking at the state secretariat, Mr. Peter Gambo, Taraba State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, said the state government is insensitive to workers’ plight.
Gambo said that they were protesting other irregularities in the payment of salaries and pensions.
Reacting to the protests at the Assembly, Governor Ishaku said those protesting were not employed by the state government.
On the budget, he said N49,325, 282, 931 was allocated for recurrent expenditure, which represents 44.77 per cent; while capital expenditure was N60,843,700,111, which represents 55.23 per cent.
A breakdown of Governor Bello of Kogi’s budget proposal shows that N43.4 billion is proposed for administration; N80.4 billion, economy; N6.8 billion, law and justice; N44.09 billion, social sector.
The governor noted that the budget policy strategy was to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of spending and achieving a better balance between capital and recurrent expenditure.
Earlier, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Umar Imam, pointed out that the Assembly collaborated with the executive in ensuring that government policies and fiscal responsibilities were given the desired legislative support, particularly on matters concerning the people and in the interests of the state.
He urged the executive to ensure that budget proposals were presented to the legislature three months before the commencement of the next fiscal year to give room for early deliberations.