Legislative autonomyBy Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – The Plateau State Government is to spend the sum of N100,000,000.00 only to furnish the Simon Lalong Guest House as against the sum Of N88,000,000.00 only budgeted to run the affairs of the State Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Hospitality which has the potential to generate high IGR for the State.

This is even as conflicting figures are quoted as the amount budgeted for the construction of the British American junction flyover and dualization to Lamingo junction roundabout.

The State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Sylvester Wallangko who spoke during the 2022 Budget breakdown on Friday, explained the reasons for the disparities.

Wallangko who earlier reviewed the budget performance in 2021, stated the government is optimistic that the 2022 budget was not over ambitious as there is an over N40bn reduction of the figure in the 2022 budget from N147bn in 2021 to N106bn in 2022.

Giving details, he said among other things, “… Tourism, Culture, and Hospitality, the sum of N88,000,000.00 only representing 0.24 percent of the total capital estimate is allocated to this subsector for their various projects. For Administration, the rescue administration has committed the sum of N7,687,193,830.50 only representing 21.36 percent of the capital estimate.

“Among other projects and programmes considered in the budget include the following: Building and furnishing protocol lodge at International Airport, Heipang, N60,000,000.00; Furnishing of Simon Bako Lalong guest house, N100,000,000.00…”

On the flyover which has been a subject of controversy in the State between the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Wallangko explained the Ministry of Works and Transport has been allocated “the sum of N9,357,030,000.00 only representing 26.00% of the capital.

“This is to enable the sector finance capital projects, especially the ongoing projects in the State. Some of the projects considered in the budget include amongst others are the construction of Kwande-Shimankar Moekat Mato road, N350,000,000.00; British American junction flyover and dualization to Lamingo junction roundabout, N6,000,000,000.00…”

Asked about the disparity with the earlier figure of N18bn which sparked controversy between the two political parties, he said, “I don’t know who gave the figure of N18bn, this flyover started in 2021 and we made provision for about N2bn. In 2022, what is going to be spent is N6bn because all that is supposed to be spent is N9bn on the overhead. If we make provision for N6bn and somebody said N18bn, possibly they should tell us where they will get the remaining funding from.”

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