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Bauchi’s budget of profligacy, by Adamu Azare

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Bauchi’s budget of profligacy, by Adamu Azare

NEWISSUES, Abuja

I find it necessary as a concerned citizen of Bauchi state to write in response to media reports that the Governor of Bauchi state Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar has submitted a “reviewed budget” for the 2015 fiscal year to the State House of Assembly.

In order to have a thorough grasp of the issue, there is need to take a closer look at, and analyse the 2015 budget estimates inherited by Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar from his predecessor, Malam Isa Yuguda.

On Friday, November 28, 2014 the former governor of Bauchi state Malam Isa Yuguda presented the budget proposal for the 2015 fiscal year to the 7th Bauchi State House of Assembly. The sum of N127.8bn was submitted by Yuguda as the estimated budget. The amount is made up of N62.8bn Recurrent Expenditure estimates and N65.8bn Capital Expenditure estimates.

The former governor while submitting the budget said the Recurrent Expenditure estimates were made up of N26.1bn Personnel Costs, N25.1bn Overhead Costs and N11.4bn Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges.

Yuguda also gave the breakdown of the Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges as N4.5bn Pension and Gratuity, N5.4bn Public Debt Charges/Debt Servicing and N1.5bn Public Officers’ Salary.

The former governor further revealed that Capital Receipts were projected for N49.9bn made up of N250m Opening Balance, N9.6bn Internal Loans, N7.3bn External Loans, N9.4bn Aids and Grants and N23bn Other Capital Receipts/LG Joint Projects.

Similarly, former governor Yuguda explained that the Capital Expenditure consisted of N8.6bn for Administrative Sector, N30bn for the Economic Sector, N1bn for Law and Justice Sector and N21bn for Social Sector.

The budget, which the former governor tagged “Budget of Fulfilment” is, in fairness to him, realistic and sustainable and a testimony of his administration’s fiscal responsibility.

However, in a surprise move, the present governor Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 presented what he calls a “reviewed budget” of N102bn to the state House of Assembly. The Daily Trust newspaper reported that, “The budget is a downward review of the N127.89bn earlier presented to the Assembly by the immediate past governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda.”

The newspaper further reported, “Governor Abubakar argued that most of the provisions made in the 2015 budget by the past administration of Isa Yuguda do not conform with the priorities of his administration and the APC manifesto.” The governor was then quoted thus, “This necessitated a need to set the machinery in motion to review the 2015 budget, reflecting economic realities as well as the priority areas of this administration in line with the party manifesto.”

Now, what are the priorities of Governor Abubakar’s administration? What economic realities is the governor talking about? And what party manifesto is he referring to?

Going by the so called “reviewed budget”, which jerked up the N62.8bn Recurrent Expenditure, and slashed down the N65.8bn Capital Expenditure earlier estimated, to N63bn and N39bn respectively, one can easily tell the kind of priorities and economic realities the governor sets for the state.

The governor simply reviewed Recurrent Expenditure estimates upward and Capital Expenditure estimates downward, a subtle move towards denying the state the much needed capital development projects and, shifting his focus on massive jamborious spendings. Is the APC manifesto hinged on jamboree? I doubt it!

The crux of the matter is, most of the Recurrent Expenditures of his administration as “reviewed” in the budget has been incurred long ago, before the presentation of the “reviewed budget.” The review is an afterthought with a view to cover up the huge expenditures already incurred without appropriation.

This is an effrontery on the Bauchi State House of Assembly, the good people of Bauchi state and a gross abuse of due process and extant laws. The Assembly members, as direct representatives of the people must not be allowed to be rubber-stamped. They must rise to the occasion in order to check executive excesses such as this.

Musa Azare, wrote in from Bauchi state.

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