Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State has presented a budget estimate of one hundred and fifty-one billion, two hundred and forty million, six hundred and twenty-one thousand, seven hundred seventy-six naira (N151, 240, 621, 776. 00) to the State House of Assembly for consideration.
The 2021 budget estimate is 2.71 per cent lower than the 2020 budget of N155, 459, 814, 701which was reviewed following the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has N72, 503, 201, 830.88 representing 47.94 per cent recurrent expenditure and N78, 737, 419, 945.12 representing 52.06 per cent of capital expenditure.
Presenting the Appropriation Bill on behalf of the Governor, his Deputy, Ahmed Muhammed Kesto, said that the 2021 estimates will be financed through the traditional sources such as: statutory allocation, value-added tax (VAT), Internally generated Revenue (IGR), and capital receipts.
He said that N71, 955, 049, 902.00, representing 47. 58 per cent is expected to accrue from the Federal Allocation as N17, 999, 524, 715. 00 representing 11.91 per cent from VAT, N14, 744, 770, 399.00 while 9.74 per cent is to be generated from IGR. N42, 201, 250, 249.00 representing 27. 90 per cent is expected from capital receipts.
Kesto said that other revenue sources of the budget include; dividends from North-South Power to the tune of N500, 000, 000. 00; refund from National Electricity Liability Company (NELCO) which stands at N3, 510, 026, 517.00, and refund from the Federal Government for its rehabilitated roads totalling N330, 000, 000.00.
The recurrent expenditure for 2021 is slightly higher with 3.63 per cent than the this year under due to the implementation of the new minimum wage of N30, 000.00, the backlog of promotions, annual salary increments; and payments of pension and gratuity to retired civil servants.
The Governor said the Economic Sector has the highest allocation of N54.257Billion representing 68.90%, followed by the Social Sector with N16.084Billion or 20.42%, and Administrative Sector with 9.02% or N7.095 Billion. The Law and Justice Sector has a proposed estimate of N1.3Billion representing 1.66 per cent.
He said that the budget is focused on the completion of projects that have attained 90 per cent completion, provision of counterpart funds to development partners on supported projects, investment, and employment generation for youths projects in the areas of mineral development, agriculture, as well as small and medium enterprises.
Sani Bello noted that the year 2020 has been tough in almost all aspects of government, particularly due to the outbreak of COVID-19 which led to a fall in crude oil price and other sources of revenue, which in turn affected the ability of the government to meet up with the capital projects expectations for the year under review.
He said the turbulence that came with the year included increased security challenges, banditry, kidnapping among others, which negatively impacted government plans in the year under review.
The Governor however assured Nigerlites that despite the challenging situation, the year 2021 budget is predicated on realistic revenue forecasts focusing on completion of prioritized, achievable projects that will bring about the needed development in the State.
In his response, Speaker, Niger State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Abdullahi Bawa Wuse assured the public that the legislative arm of Government will partner with the relevant stakeholders in ensuring that the appropriation bill is passed into law in record time so as to take effect from January 2021.
Hon Bawa Wuse charged Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDA’s) to cooperate with the legislators when called upon for budget scrutiny.
The speaker expressed concern over the COVID-19 status of the Governor, and prayed for his quick recovery.