By Adeniyi Adedeji, Ilorin
Following the dwindling revenue, arising from the steep global economic meltdown, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kwara State budget for 2020 has been slashed from the earlier approved N162,487,666,170 to N114,791,853,968, representing a decrease of 29.4 per cent, by the state Executive Council.
Kwara State Commissioner for Communications, Harriet Afolabi Oshatimehin, who made this known to journalists in Ilorin; saying that at a virtual meeting presided over by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the cabinet approved the presentation of the revised Appropriation Bill 2020 to the Kwara State House of Assembly.
She added that the reviewed budget has been forwarded to the state House of Assembly by the governor on Thursday.
Oshatimehin disclosed that the reviewed budget prioritises completion of ongoing capital projects and first-line charges such as, payment of salary, gratuities and pension, and social spending targeted at curbing abject poverty.
She said, “The new budget allocated N46.9 billion to capital expenditure, down from the N89.4 billion in the earlier approved one, while N67.8 billion would be spent on recurrent expenditure, down from N73 billion in the appropriation law.
“The proposal adjusted revenue to the state to N104 billion, down from the N150.2 billion in the approved budget.”
The commissioner further stated that “sectoral breakdown showed a huge allocation of N22.9 billion to health (as against N27.7 billion in the approved budget; N23.6 billion to education, down from N33.8 billion in the approved budget; works gulps N6.6 billion in the revised budget, down from the N17.2 billion in the Appropriation act and agriculture, N2.3 billion, down from the initial N3.3 billion.”
She continued, “Sources of financing of the revised budget included federal allocation of N46.1 billion; internally generated revenue of N25.9 billion; opening balance of N7.4 billion; N6.9 billion anticipated receipts for the various inherited World Bank programmes in the state such as Youth Employment and Social Support Operation, YESSO; Community and Social Development Project, CSDP, Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project, RAAMP, and Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria, ANRIN, etc; and the domestic short-term loan of N1.8 billion (UBEC counterpart funds).
“The financial estimate was predicated on zero-based budgeting approach system and the macro-fiscal assumptions in the addendum to the Federal Government MTEF 2020, including $25 oil price as against the pre-pandemic $57 (56.1 per cent decrease), oil production estimate of 1.9 million barrel per day as against 2.18 million barrel per day (12.8 per cent reduction), average exchange rate of N360 as against 305, and inflation rate of 14.13 per cent as opposed to the 10.81 earlier predicted.
“In her presentation of the reviewed budget at the cabinet meeting, Commissioner for Finance and Planning, Olasumbo Florence Oyeyemi, listed the objectives of the budget to include aggressive mobilisation of resources to contain the pandemic and save lives through provision of critical infrastructure in health, education, water supply and sanitation as well as social development and protection.
“The budget would also reallocate resources from administrative capital to investment capital on economic driven activities to create employment opportunities in agriculture, industries, small and medium scale enterprises, infrastructure in energy, ICT development and rural development.”