By Boluwaji Obahopo, Lokoja
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state on Wednesday at the Speaker’s lodge, Lokoja presented an N172 billion 2023 budget estimates before the state house of assembly.
The governor who hinted that he has delivered on his 5 thematic area premises on education, healthcare delivery, security, youth and women empowerment and agriculture, said the 2023 Budget of Transformation will be held to solidify his performances.
The N172,090,787,00 budget estimate tagged ‘Budget of Transformation’ is N4,788,825,095,00 higher than the 2022 budget, thus representing a 2.86% increase as against an estimated outlay of N167,301,962,197,0 approved budget for the year 2022.
Bello, while presenting the budget he referred to as the “Peoples Budget” to the members of the Kogi State House of Assembly, said the 2023-2025 Multi-year budget is premised on zero-based budgeting principles, is tailored towards the actualization of the State development plan.
“The 2023 budget which has a recurrent expenditure of N101,315,129,341 representing 58.87% of the budget; and N70,775,657,951 as capital, representing 47.13% of the budget, will also aim at establishing the necessary framework for a robust mining and solid minerals sector, improve the road network in urban and rural areas as well as improve the quantity, quality and access to safe water for domestic, commercial and industrial uses.
A breakdown of the budget shows that the administration has a total allocation of N40 billion representing 21.94% of the budget; Economic N53b representing 31%; Law and Justice N7b representing 4.14%; Social N63b representing 36.69% of the budget.
“The budget has an estimated revenue of N172b, estimated expenditure of N172b, thus representing a balanced budget of N172, 090,787,292 for the 2023 fiscal year.”
“Distinguished Members are well aware that our nation faces serious socioeconomic challenges at the moment, some preceding and others proceeding, from the COVID-19 pandemic and how the world chose to respond to it. Also, the adverse effect of climate change, the Russia-Ukraine War, and the decline in crude oil earnings along with the pervasive insecurity across the country continue to test our mettle.
“According to the World Bank Group President David Malpass, “The world economy is simultaneously facing COVID-19, inflation, and policy uncertainty, with government spending and monetary policies in uncharted territory. Rising inequality and security challenges are particularly harmful to develop countries.’
“The Global Economic Prospects, a report published by the World Bank also sounds the same alarm as follows: ‘Global growth is expected to decelerate markedly from 5.5 percent in 2021 to 4.1 percent in 2022 and 3.2 percent in 2023 as pent-up demand dissipates (in the aftermath of Covid-19) and as fiscal and monetary support is unwound across the world.
“This means that national incomes, including that of Nigeria, are poised to keep contracting across the globe well into 2023 and beyond. As a State, our share of the Federation Account allocation has fallen precipitously, making traditional income sources all the more unreliable in our quest to continue meeting our developmental goals for our State.
“Honourable Members, | am confident that while the foregoing economic diagnosis may be grim, the prognosis need not be so. There are short mid-term mechanisms we can deploy to mitigate the effects of these adverse outlooks on our people and simultaneously improve their living standards.
“This is why we have crafted the 2023 Budget as an instrument that will guide our efforts to fire up our economy and keep it burning. It is designed to capture only realizable revenues, enhance Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), aggressively pursue repayment of debts owed us by the Federal Government, and continue the process of realizing our investment objectives in Obajana Cement Company and other joint investments.
“In addition, this budget proposal is expected to help us significantly reduce the cost of governance, enhance the ease of doing business, attract more foreign direct investments, block all leakages in our finances, prioritize completion of all ongoing projects, and even make room to undertake a few new ones which are too crucial to be left undone by this Administration.
“It is in consideration of these and other objectives that we have tagged our 2023 Budget, THE BUDGET OF TRANSFORMATION. It focuses on the continued provision of physical infrastructure, human capital development, job creation, wealth creation, and poverty eradication in our dear State through significant upscaling of expenditures in Health, Education, Agriculture, Water Resources, Environment, Housing, and Support for Women and Youth Empowerment programmes.
“The 2023 Budget is a people’s budget that will drive acceleration in the delivery of basic infrastructure and social services. It is also conceived as an expenditure template that will strengthen our capacity to continue keeping our promises to them to ensure accelerated and proportional development of Kogi State in all her constituencies. Specifically, this budget targets areas of critical importance to our people as follows: Peace and security, Infrastructure development such as roads, bridges, electricity, and housing; Improved Health Care Delivery; Enhanced Internally Generated Revenue (IGR); Education; Human Capital Development; Agriculture; Water and Sanitation.
“Our objective for focusing on these sectors is to make the State a healthy tourist center, enhance the creation of new job opportunities for Kogites, especially youths and women, and create a well-secured polity that will boost commerce, trade and investment in spite of the prevailing circumstances elsewhere.
“Another objective that will quickly become clear as the House scrutinizes this Budget Proposal is our resolve to end Kogi State’s over-dependence on the Federation Accounts for her income. This is a trend we must begin to end, and no time is better than the present. You will see that we have plans to expand the State’s earnings by restructuring the scope and approach to IGR generation.
“Also, this instrument is drafted to further attract private sector investments to the State, encourage public-private-partnerships, emphasize completion of ongoing projects while bringing on board new as time and funds will permit, and, most importantly, eliminate wastes and leaks from the State’s revenue value-chain. This is why, as stated earlier, this draft Budget for 2023 is proposed as a BUDGET OF TRANSFORMATION.”