‘Restructure 2024 budget’—INGRA tells Kogi Assembly

The Initiative for Grassroots Advancement, INGRA, Nigeria, has called on the Kogi State State House of Assembly’s Committee on Appropriation, Economic Planning, and Budget Monitoring to look at ways of putting in place mechanisms for restructuring the 2024 proposed budget to provide the maximum benefit for the people.

DAILY POST recalls that Governor Bello presented the N258,278,501,339 proposed 2024 budget to the House for approval on Monday.

The Kogi State budget has N145,736,429,609 in recurrent expenditure, representing 56.43 per cent and N112,542,071,730 in capital expenditure, representing 43.57 per cent.

A memorandum submitted before the lawmakers on Wednesday by Hamza Aliyu, the Executive Director of INGRA, observed that the recurrent to capital ratio of 56:44 is not conducive to development as it means that the government intends to spend more on personnel and overhead than on capital projects, which will benefit the majority of the citizens of Kogi State.

While noting that there is a need to reverse this trend, Aliyu maintained that the borrowing plan of the state government is worrying, taking into consideration the increase in revenue as shown in the budget outlay.

According to him: “More worrying is that more than 100% of the recurrent revenue for 2023 was used for recurrent expenditure, leaving a deficit of more than N13 billion. There is an urgent need to tame this reoccurring trend in our public sector finance management, taking into consideration that over N17 billion was paid out as debt in 2023 (as of September) and N15 billion is estimated for debt payment in 2024.”

Continuing, Aliyu said: “The budget does not make plans for savings. It would have looked good if there was a fund kept aside for emergencies such as an economic recession, etc., taking into consideration that the majority of our income is tied around a single product, which is currently witnessing volatility in the market with the Israeli-Palestinian war going on.

” No provision is made for the reticulation of the Greater Lokoja Water Scheme. The scheme, which is expected to generate 10 million gallons of water per day and end the city’s perennial water crisis, has been epileptic at best due to poor resource allocation and human capacity.

“The reticulation was to ensure the effective distribution of water from the new waterworks to parts of Lokoja and the adjoining towns of Ganaja, Zango, Kabba Junction, Obajana, and Gadumo.”

Aliyu also observed that the budgetary allocation for the provision of dump sites, waste collection vans, and other waste management issues under the Ministry of Environment is grossly inadequate, considering the size and importance of Lokoja, Okene, Kabba, Anyigba, and other towns in Kogi State.

For the Ministry of Work, the INGRA executive director opined that there needs to be a substantial increase in allocation to many of the road projects in the 2024 proposed budget.

Aliyu further decried the budgetary allocation for agriculture in Kogi State, noting that the 2003 Maputo Declaration enjoins states and countries to invest at least 10 per cent of their budgets in agriculture.

“The persistently high cost of food in Kogi State and the high food inflation in the state are putting pressure on the cost of living for the citizens of the state, despite being an agrarian state,” he said.

He further stressed the need for improved internally generated revenue for Kogi State to meet the 32-year development plan of the Alhaji Yahaya Bello Administration and other administrations to come.

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