BY MSUE AZA, RAHILA ABDULLAHI, Kaduna
Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, yesterday, presented 2018 budget estimates of N216.55 billion to the State House of Assembly for accelerated passage into law.
Presenting the budget, el-Rufai, who described it as a ‘Budget of Consolidation’ said it is structured to complete the many projects the government is undertaking.
The governor said in keeping with the tradition of the government, the budget maintains a priority for capital projects with a vote of N131.bn or 60.54%,while the recurrent expenditure is N85,440,998,051.95. (39.46%).
el-Rufai said that the capital to recurrent ratio is “consistent with our agenda to spend more on the people than on running government”.
The proposed budget has expanded beyond the initial size of N201billion that was presented to Kaduna citizens last week in a town hall meeting for input from the public which informed the rejig of the budget.
In his budget speech, el-Rufai explained that: “The 2018 revenue and expenditure estimates are based on a robust medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) which assumes a $42 benchmark price for oil at production levels of 1.8 million barrels per day, 17.5% inflation, 1.9% projected real GDP growth and an exchange rate of N305 to a Dollar”.
At N51.4billion, Education, Health and Social Development take 39.2% of the N131.1bn capital budget. Education takes 25% at N33billion, while Health takes N17billion (12%) of capital.”
el-Rufai, said fixing the in herited dilapidated schools would require about N60billion, and that the album of decayed schools the government produced has helped them to show the development partners the scale of investments required.
The governor disclosed that it was that discussion that led to the decision of the World Bank to grant Kaduna State a budget support facility of $350million.
He said that the state would begin accessing the funds once the National Assembly approves the Federal Government’s 2017 borrowing plan.
According to the governor, the 2018 budget prioritises the completion of projects started in the 2017 budget. “We shall be prioritising completion of these projects in the coming year. We are in a time of consolidation, and the budget reflects this thrust. Development is a continuum, and we are firmly building on the foundations we have laid in the preceding years,” he said.
“As at mid-2017, there were 443km of township roads and 16 intercity roads with a distance of 414.8km at various stages of completion. In addition, 17 rural feeder roads with distance of 172 km are being constructed. We campaigned vigorously against the poor state of public schools.
“There are many schools being rebuilt, hospitals being upgraded and equipped, water works being refitted, rehabilitation centres being fixed. We are very proud to have initiated these projects in the interest of our people. And we have been clearheaded enough to take on inherited projects that we consider feasible and viable!
“The Kaduna State Government will stay focused on delivering on our promises. We shall not relent in promoting development and progress for the people who have invested their hope in us.” El-rufai said.
In his remarks, Speaker Kaduna State House of Assembly, Aminu Shagali, commended Governor Nasir el-Rufai for his timely presentation of the annual budgets, saying the assembly members will quickly scrutinize the draft budget and pass it into law.