BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
Education has again taken the lion share as Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, presented before the state assembly the sum of N109, 801, 524, 879.49 as 2022 appropriation bill.
Engineer Sule presented the 2022 appropriation bill tagged, “Budget of Sustainable Transformation”, at a ceremony in the newly refurbished chamber of the Nasaraw State House of Assembly, on Thursday.
According to the governor, the 2022 appropriation comprises of N70, 891, 582, 458.57 as recurrent expenditure, representing 64.56 percent, with N38, 909, 942, 420.92bn, as capital expenditure, representing 35.44 percent.
Like in previous budgets by the present administration, education tops sectoral allocation, with N31.83bn as appropriation, followed by works, housing and transport with N14. 05bn.
Others are health, N11.85bn, Government House administration, N8.94bn, office of the secretary to the state government, N9. 40bn, finance and investment, N8. 98bn, agriculture and water resources, N4.40bn, judicial service commission, N3. 04bn, youth and sports development, N1.64bn and legislature, N1.7bn.
In the 2022 fiscal appropriation, N4.8bn was set aside for the payment of pension and gratuity.
While reviewing last year’s budget performance, Engineer Sule scored the 2021 budget performance at 50.5 percent following the realisation of N62bn as total revenue, representing 53. 92 percent of the expected revenue.
He explained that out of this sum, N41.3bn was spent on recurrent expenditure, while N16.7bn was expended on capital projects, with total expenditure in 2021 pegged at slightly over N58bn, representing 50.5 percent of the total expected revenue.
Under the 2022 appropriation, Engineer Sule said his administration will focus on provision of general security and good governance, completion of all ongoing projects started by his administration, enhance welfare of workers through promotion and implementation of minimum wage, as well as human capital development.
Others are creation of employment opportunities for women and youths, encouraging and supporting agriculture, in order to boost production, value chain addition and strengthening commercial ventures towards a stable economy.
He however warned that government will not relent in its effort to strengthen internal control mechanisms in public finance management, stressing that his administration will continue to monitor monthly overhead costs while ensuring strict monitoring of activities at the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Engineer Sule added that the fiscal responsibility framework of the administration, will further sustain transparency and accountability, with the adoption of the Central Billing System, aimed at promoting fiscal discipline, as well as block financial leakages.
He explained that the shortfall in the 2022 appropriation, compared to the 2021 budget, was occassioned by the dwindling resources following the challenges being confronted by the nation’s economy, making the 2022 appropriation realistic.
The governor urged the lawmakers to give the budget the much-needed attention to ensure speedy growth of the state, adding that the speedy passage of the budget would enable the state government to execute developmental projects across the state.
In his response, Speaker of the assembly, Rt Hon. Ibrahim Balarabe, commended the governor for presenting the budget, assuring him of speedy passage of the 2022 appropriation bill.
Rt. Hon. Balarabe also assured the governor of a good working relationship to bring the much-needed dividends of democracy to the doorstep of the people of the state.