El-Rufai signs 2017 budget into law

Posted by Garba Ahmed, Kaduna | 14 December 2016 | 3,020 times

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•Governor el-Rufai.

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Tuesday in Kaduna, signed into law, the 2017 Budget of N214 billion for the fiscal year.

The State House of Assembly was the first among the 36 states of the Federation to pass the 2017 budget into law.

The 2017 Budget size is N214.9 billion, made up of N83.46 billion in recurrent spending and N131.45 billion in capital expenditure. This indicates a capital to recurrent ratio of 61:39.

El-Rufai while signing the Appropriation Bill into law at the Government House, Kaduna, also announced that the state has received the Paris Club refund from the Federal Government which he said would be used to clear six years pension, gratuity and death benefits of retired and dead workers in the state.

He said: “I wish to inform our legislators that we shall be submitting a Supplementary Budget to enable us capture the debt refunds we have just received from the Federal Government. Fifty-five percent of these funds belong to the state government, and the balance is for the local governments.

“We propose to apply 50% of the funds to settling the inherited arrears of gratuity and death benefits for state and local government workers. Some of these unpaid arrears date from as far back as 2010. Mr. Dan Ndackson, the Executive Secretary of the Bureau of Pension, has done a great job of sorting out these records and we will be ready to pay once the supplementary budget is passed.

“This is unprecedented, but we are happy to clear the problems created by those before us. The balance of the funds will be dedicated to rural and urban roads.”

The Governor added that the budget was deliberately skewed rising from N172 billion approved

for 2016 because “we need to increase spending in a recession.”

The 2017 Budget, the Governor noted retained the pro-poor programmes which his administration was committed to, which he said, include improving access to education, healthcare, infrastructure, jobs and security.

“It puts the needs and interests of our people first. In 2017, Kaduna State will spend N44.84 billion on Education; N10.49 billion on Health; N24.50 billion on Infrastructure and N8.1billion on Water. Agriculture, one of our areas of comparative advantage, will get N4.58 billion,” he said.

Governor el-Rufai said all the investments are meant to ensure that in 2017, "we will deliver the Zaria Water Project, begin a school rebuilding and equipment programme that is unprecedented in the history of the state; complete the refitting of 278 primary health centres and hospitals and improve our investment profile and job-creation capacity with the establishment of an agro-industrial zone.

“In addition, we will expand our programme to rebuild and maintain township roads and kick-off the first phase of the Kaduna mass transit scheme. An Emergency Nutrition Intervention Programme to reduce malnutrition and hunger amongst our poorest citizens and children will also be implemented.”

While commending the State House of Assembly, the governor said: “Our legislators actually reduced the draft estimates we presented by N1 billion when the temptation might have been to pad it.”

He said with the B+ Fitch Ratings Kaduna State recently owes a lot to the policy and legal framework created by legislation such as the Tax Codification, Public Procurement, Fiscal Responsibility and Public Finance Management laws.

Earlier, the Speaker, Kaduna State House of Assembly, Aminu Shagali, said the 2017 budget will have smooth implementation by the executive arm.

“To this end, efforts will be made through oversight and other legislative and parliamentary processes to assist your administration in that direction,” he said.

Source: News Express

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