By Marymagdalyn Francis
Kogi State has presented the total of N174, 851,544, 523.00 as Budget Estimates for 2017 economic year.
The state governor Yahaya Adoza Bello, presented the budget tagged: “Budget of Hope” on Thursday, at the State House of Assembly.
The budget is divided into Recurent Expenditure, totalling, N58,5531,404,254.00, representing 33%, and the Capital Expenditure was put at N116,320,140,269.00, amounting to 66% of the entire budget.
Addressing members at the plenary session for the for the presentation of the year 2017 budget estimates, Kogi State House Speaker, Hon. Umar Ahmed Imam in his welcoming address said the existing synergy between the executive and the legislative arm of government, made it possible to put in the fore front the interest of the citizens and support for the economic growth of the state.
He said: “in the last ten months and in the excercise of our constitutional responsibilities, collaborated with the executive in ensuring that government policies and fiscal responsibilities are given the desired legislative support, particularly on matters concerning the people and in the interest of the State.”
Hon. Ahmed Imam said despite the economic down turn; drop in oil price and depreciation of the naira, the state would remain focused on driving developmental agenda.
The Speaker further expressed confidence on the ability of governor Bello to steer the state on a path of continued growth notwithstanding the current challenges stabilising the civil service and improving infrastructural deficit.
He said: “No doubt, the outgoing fiscal year is shaped in challenges; staff verification, arrears of salary payments and infrastructural deficit. While commending payments of salary arrears, I call Your Excellency’s attention to a good number of civil servants who are yet to access their salaries.
“As the representatives of the people, we feel their pains and share in their suffering having to remain for months without income. It is our desire to urge Your Excellency to ensure, as earlier promised, that all genuine civil servants are paid.
He stressed the need for more efforts be channelled towards improving on the state’s internally Generated revenue.
“We are aware of the lean resources of the State. The need to augment on the State’s internally generated revenue is, therefore, urgent.
“This need is accentuated by the continued depreciation of the Naira against the Dollar and the downturn in the oil revenue that has adversely affected the statutory allocation to the State from the Federation accounts being the direct consequence of falling crude oil production and unstable prices at the international market, he said.
He also requested that in line with the 6th Assembly Legislative agenda, the state governor presents the next budget at least 3 months to the commencement of another fiscal year.
This he said was necessary in order to have enough time to “consider the financial and economic status of the State diligently and promptly.”
He said: “The period would afford Members the opportunity to consider the financial and economic status of the State diligently and promptly, as well as government financial policies captured in the proposed budget.
“The budget, accordingly, would have to be passed before the fiscal year begins. Nonetheless, I admonish all Heads of Ministries, Boards, and Parastatals to be alive to their responsibility by responding promptly to their various over sighting Committees when invited to appraise and defend their budget estimates.
The Speaker said this was in line with legislative compliance with the provisions of the Appropriation Law in ensuring value for money.