By Clifford Ndujihe, Deputy Political Editor
TO make 2018 a better year for Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari and 34 governors have promised to pursue ambitious and prosperity budgets totaling N17.075 trillion. This is N3.455 trillion higher than the N13.620 trillion the 34 governors and the Federal Government budgeted for 2017, which expires today.
Apart from Rivers and Kebbi states, which are yet to announce their 2018 budgets, most of the governments voted to spend more money than they did last year. The exceptions are Benue, Borno, Enugu, Kaduna, Kogi and Taraba (see table).
The new year will also be a new era in the annals of budgeting in Nigeria with two states – Cross River (N1.3 trillion) and Lagos (N1.046trillion) – crossing the one trillion naira mark for the first time.
The Cross River and Lagos budgets are reminiscent of what the first civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, did in the Second Republic when he proposed about one billion naira budget , a move that raised dust in the polity then with some stakeholders wondering how he was going to fund it.
Instructively, most of the state governors have allocated more funds to capital projects and critical infrastructures expected to deepen the country’s recovery from economic recession and ensure the welfare of the citizenry. Some of the governors promised to make infrastructure development, education, health agriculture, housing and urban development their top priorities in 2018.
Only the Federal Government (see table), Bayelsa, Enugu, Ekiti, Ondo, Plateau and Yobe states allocated more funds to recurrent expenditures.
Altogether, the governments will spend N7.705 trillion on capital expenditure and N9.092 trillion on recurrent expenditure.
The high figure for recurrent expenditure was marked up by the Federal Government’s share of N5.960 trillion. As a group, the states allocated more funds to capital expenditure (N5.053 trillion) compared to recurrent expenditure (N3.132 trillion).
Indeed, the governors have given their budgets fanciful and motivating themes to drive their fortunes-turning objectives.
The themes are: Budget of Hope and Empowerment (Adamawa), Budget of Partnerships and Opportunities (Abia), Budget of Value for Money, Economic Diversification and Job Creation (Anambra), Budget of Consolidation on Industrialisation (Akwa Ibom), Budget of Finishing Strong on development, Stability and Prosperity Phase 2 (Bayelsa), Budget of Resettlement and Empowerment (Borno), Budget of Kinetic Crystallisation (Cross River), Budget of Growth (Edo) and Budget of Accomplishment (Ekiti).
Others include: Budget of Consolidation and Continuity (Imo), Budget of Reality (Kano), Budget of Actualisation (Katsina), Budget of Sustainable Growth and Development (Kwara), Budget of Progress and Development (Lagos), Budget of Accelerated Development (Ogun), Budget of Stabilisation (Oyo), Budget of Sustainable Positive Change (Sokoto), Budget of Consolidation and Socio-economic Rejuvenation (Yobe), Budget of Enduring Legacy (Osun), and Budget of Divine Visitation (Ebonyi).
2018 will be a year of better outcomes – Buhari
While presenting the 2018 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly last November, President Buhari said 2017 was a year of uncertainty on many fronts across the globe, which in one way or the other impacted negatively on Nigeria’s economic fortunes.
Vowing that his administration is committed to reforming the country’s economy, he said: ‘’The 2018 Budget will consolidate on the achievements of previous budgets and deliver on Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2018 – 2020…By all accounts, 2018 is expected to be a year of better outcomes. The tepid economic recovery is expected to pick up pace and the global political terrain is expected to stabilize. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is anticipating global GDP growth of 3.7 percent in 2018. Emerging markets and developing economies are expected to lead with GDP growth of 4.9 percent, while advanced economies are projected to grow at a slower rate of 2 percent.’’
How I will boost Anambra economy – Obiano
Anambra State governor, Mr Willie Obiano, said the 2018 budget, titled: “Budget for Value-for-Money, Economic Diversification and Job Creation,” would create jobs and also boost the state’s economy.
He said job creation was a priority in the 2018 fiscal year to ensure Anambra tackled unemployment, underemployment and, more importantly, provide a means of livelihood for the poor and vulnerable.
The governor, while analysing the budget, said the slogan, Value-for-Money, entails that the state would “carefully assess all activities and make difficult trade-offs to ensure we focus solely on implementing projects and programmes that provide commensurate value to Ndi Anambra.’’
Health, education, youth empowerment, my focus – Bauchi governor
Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of Bauchi State, said his N167.9 billion 2018 budget tagged, “Budget of Consideration”, will give priority to agriculture, health, education, water supply, roads, women and youth empowerment.
Reviewing the performance of the 2017 budget, the governor stated that his administration recorded some achievements in the outgoing year, adding that over 800 different projects were executed and completed in the 20 local government areas of the state.
Abubakar said that health and education were given the lion share of the 2017 budget, adding that in the 2018 budget, health is given 15 per cent, while education has 14 per cent.
More attention will be on capital investment – Dickson
To Governor Dickson of Bayelsa State, the 2017 budget, tagged: ‘Finishing Strong on Development, Stability and Prosperity Phase 1’, showed marked improvement on infrastructure expenditure, saying the trend will continue in 2018.
He budgeted N146.6 billion (50 per cent) of the N295.2 billion on infrastructure, saying the 2018 budget is geared towards paying more attention to all the capital investments in the state.
According to him, roads in the three senatorial districts of the state would receive adequate attention while more internal roads would be constructed in the state capital, Yenagoa.
Shettima makes education top priority
In Borno, one of the states ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency, Governor Kashim Shettima, in his N170.2 billion budget, gave education the highest allocation of N27 billion in a proposal that allocated N108.4 billion (65 per cent) to capital projects leaving recurrent expenditures with N61.8 billion.
After education, the governor’s second top priority is infrastructure. He allocated N22.6 billion to the construction of major roads, drainage and boosting transportation through the state Ministry of Works and Transport; N17.7 billion for healthcare infrastructures, consumables and other related needs; N9.8 billion to complete the reconstruction of destroyed communities, rehabilitation and resettlement of victims of insurgency; while N8 billion was set aside for agriculture among others.
The governor recalled that “during the 2017 fiscal year, the state government made deliberate efforts to reconstruct or rehabilitate major institutional structures and residential buildings in the various local government areas which were wantonly destroyed by insurgents.
“I am happy to announce that most of the schools, health centres and residential houses in some of the Local Governments destroyed during the insurgency, have been reconstructed and services fully restored. These Local Governments include Konduga, Damasak, Dikwa, Askira/Uba, Kaga and Mafa. Also IDPs from these Local Governments as well as those from Damboa, Ngala and Monguno, have been safely returned to their homes. To ensure that these IDPs are engaged in some economic ventures, the State Government, during the period under review has undertaken the training of the youths and women in skills acquisition and also provided them with entrepreneurship kits and farm inputs. Building materials have also been distributed to some of the IDPs to rebuild their homes,” he said.
How I will pursue N1.3trillion budget of Kinetic Crystallisation – Ayade
For Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, his N1.3 trillion is meant to crystallise what the state had achieved in the past two years of his administration. He said the priority of the budget is to develop the state’s deep sea port and the super highway, which, he said, are his two marked projects. The governor said that 70 per cent of the budget was for capital expenditure and 30 per cent for re-current. According to him, the size of the budget is expected to create room for potential investors, now that the annual construction of the state deep sea port and superhighway has commenced.
“The 2018 budget of N1.3trillion, tagged `Kinetic Crystallisations’, is meant to drive the economy of the state to an enviable height. The sum of N126billion was budgeted for the Ministry of Infrastructure. This is to help us develop critical assets in the state. N7 billion was also budgeted for the state job centre with a view to helping us train our unemployed youths with marketable job skills. Also, we have budgeted N2billion for our school feeding programme. In addition to that, we also budgeted N52billion for social welfare to care for the aged. My administration is human-friendly and my desire is to ensure that every family has what to eat before going to bed,” he said.
We will improve standard of living – Obaseki
Speaking on his N146.660billion budget for 2018, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State said: “A larger part of the 2018 budget will be devoted to the development of physical and social infrastructure across the state to improve the standard of living of Edo people. Our government will consolidate on the gains we have made in wooing investors to the state. Alaghodaro Investment Summit was a huge success … We have been bombarded by inquiries from all over the world after the investment summit as investors have come to accept that Edo is indeed ready for business. This budget is expected to drive growth and progress in all sectors of the state.”
According to him, the priority areas in the proposed 2018 capital expenditure framework, ‘’are social and physical infrastructure for which we have earmarked N51 billion”.
He continued, “We will take advantage of the dry season to reconstruct several bad roads and construct new ones across the state to boost socio-economic activities. We have already commenced the procurement process for the roads through advertisements in major national newspapers.
‘’To boost employment generation across the state, N9.7billion will be spent on economic growth and employment enablers. Part of which will be targeted at the establishment of a Skills Development Agency responsible for coordinating all the State Government’s human capacity development initiatives targeted at youths, women and vulnerable groups. This will enhance the capacity of these individuals for direct employment and entrepreneurship. Our government will continue with the investment in the development of industrial parks across the state to turn around the fortunes of our economy as an industrial state, from the old narrative of a civil servants’ state.”
Infrastructure, education, transport, security, health get lion share in Lagos
In 2018, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos said with the N1.046 billion budget, his administration will make every effort to complete all on-going projects as well as initiate new ones to consolidate on the development recorded in the last 30 months.
Ambode, who christened the 2018 budget as “Budget of Progress and Development”, said it would be used to consolidate on the achievements recorded in infrastructure, education, transportation/traffic management, security and health.
“Lagos has always been a trailblazer and we must consolidate on the economic gains made so far by initiating people-friendly programmes and projects that will attract more economic improvement in Y2018”, the governor said.
“It is our resolve in Y2018 to strive and complete all on-going projects in order to meet their specified completion period and embark on new strategic projects. We intend to improve on our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the face of the dwindling accruable revenue allocation from the Federal Government, sustain our vision on wealth creation and poverty alleviation”.