Education, youths empowerment lead as AbdulRazaq presents 2021 budget proposal to Kwara Assembly

By: Abdulganeey Adeyemi Abiola

Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on Tuesday, listed Education and Youths Empowerment as top priorities in the 2021 budget proposal of N123,091,307,468 submitted to the State House of Assembly.

AbdulRazaq described the fiscal document as a product of wide consultations with the electorate and designed to reflect current economic challenges.

For Minimum Wage, the governor clarified that the proposal contains provisions for payment of the minimum wage once government reaches a deal with the labour as well as effecting promotion for different cadres of the civil service.

He said, “The budget is 54% recurrent expenditure and 46% capital expenditure, a fallout of the dwindling revenue from oil and internally generated revenue, and an urgency to priorities anti-poverty measures to cushion the effects of general economic crisis on vulnerable households and small businesses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He analyzed that ‘Education’ covered about 25.5% of the budget proposal, an improvement from last year, followed by health which grabs 13.7%. Economic affairs — a category that includes road construction and other infrastructural projects — is also taking another 25.7%, indicating the administration’s intention to spend its way through the current recession and other hardships imposed by the pandemic. The general public service, a budget subhead that deals with the civil service, gets 26.5 of the votes.

He said, “The fiscal plan will be funded from statutory allocations receipts estimated at N35,202,116,840; Value Added Tax of N14,613,315,409; other sundry revenues from the federal allocation pegged at N4,792,119,551; internally generated revenue estimated at N28,754,218,374; income from other sundry sources at N193,322,646; aid and grants pegged at N16,427,182,208; other capital receipts estimated at N9,458,032,440; and an opening balance of N13,651,000,000.”

AbdullRazaq explained that the 2021 fiscal plan is built on the modest successes of the outgoing year, with strategic emphasis on reforms and inclusive growth. However, its fundamentals are dictated by the global economic realities, low revenue projections, and a need to prioritize basic needs of the people as we recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19. I will therefore be laying before you a budget estimate of N123,091,307,468. That is 7.35% bigger than the revised 2020 budget,” he told the Parliament.

“Our priorities in the new fiscal year would include payment of the new minimum wage, cash-backed promotion for workers who passed the recent examination, tech-driven reforms in the education sector through our Kwara learn initiative, social security for the vulnerable, cottage industries, rehabilitation of sporting facilities, and investments in the ideas of our youths through Kwapreneur. Ongoing and new infrastructural projects such as the Innovation Hub, Visual Arts Centre, courtrooms and school rehabilitation, and upgrading of health facilities will also be funded.”

He also noted the importance of agriculture as part of effective strategies for food security in the state.

“Appreciable sums have been allocated to irrigation system, and purchase of fertilizers and farm implements. At least 10,000 rural women are to benefit from the Noiler programme which we are keying into.

“And nearly two years into the new administration, we have made provisions for purchase of vehicles for political office holders within reasonable limit.

“Given the huge infrastructural gaps across various sectors and our agenda for inclusive growth, we may take bonds in the new year to fund critical projects to attract investments and widen the economic base of the state.

“Our commitment to prudent management of public resources remains unshaken. We will also at all time prioritize the welfare of the people who have entrusted us with their mandate, while every segment of our society is accorded their right.”

For his part, Speaker Salihu Yakubu-Danladi commended the administration for the faithful implementation of the 2020 budget and commendable infrastructural strides despite the outbreak of the pandemic.

He said the lawmakers would discharge their duties to scrutinize the document and ensure it passes relevant thresholds of participatory democracy and good governance.

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